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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 28 January, 2020

'Live and extremely dangerous': ESB warns people not to take risks with electricity this Christmas

People are being warned to never use ESB poles to hang outdoor Christmas lights.

File photo - Actress Pauline McLynn dressed in Christmas lights and hats at a Simon Communities launch
File photo - Actress Pauline McLynn dressed in Christmas lights and hats at a Simon Communities launch
Image: Sam Boal via

WITH JUST ELEVEN days to go until Christmas Day, ESB Networks is reminding all customers to never take risks with electricity during the festive period. 

People are being warned to never use ESB poles to hang outdoor Christmas lights because the electricity wires overhead are live and extremely dangerous. 

In putting up outdoor Christmas lights and decorations, it is important to first check that there are no overhead wires nearby, the ESB has warned. 

People are also being asked to make sure outdoor wiring and lights are properly rated for outdoor use and to plug them into a portable residual current device (RCD, sometimes called a ‘trip switch’) for extra safety. 

It goes without saying that at this time of the year, storms and strong winds can cause damage to electricity wires and poles and bring wires to the ground. 

So, it’s important to always be alert and to keep your distance from fallen wires. 

The ESB has issued some further safety tips. 

Electrical safety tips for the home: 

  • Only use electrical equipment, including Christmas lights that are in good condition. 
  • Check for frayed wires, loose connections, damaged or cracked plugs, and any signs of discoloration. Disconnect immediately and replace. It is always safer to disconnect remotely at the distribution board. 
  • Reduce the chances of causing a fire and keep decorations and combustible materials well away from light fittings and other sources of heath, such as heaters, fireplaces and candles. Remember that electrical equipment can get hot and cause a fire, too. 
  • Switch off all electrical appliances, including Christmas lights and phone chargers last thing at night and when leaving the house. 
  • Always unwind extension leads completely to avoid overheating and don’t overload sockets with adaptors or extension blocks. 
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are working. 
  • Check that the RCD works by pushing the test button. 
  • Always consult a registered electrical contractor. Information on those can be found here.

Safety tips for outdoors: 

  • Electricity wires are always live – never approach them. 
  • If you see fallen wires, keep clear and phone ESB Networks immediately.
  • Always look up and keep a safe distance from wires and poles. 
  • Never use ESB poles or wires to attach things to. 
  • Do not work near overhead wires. 

In the event of a dangerous situation involving electricity wires, people are being asked to contact one of the the ESB Networks 24-hour emergency numbers: 1850 372 999 or 021 238 2410.

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