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Office of Fair Trading - helping schools to be safer 7 December 2005

    The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading has regularly warned people about the potential dangers of old or worn Christmas lights but this year it was able to take this a step further by offering a free safety testing service to schools around the Island.

    Each year around 200 people are injured in the UK following accidents with Christmas lights and there have been a number of fires in households on the Island as a result of faulty lights.

    The Office contacted the headteachers inviting them to send in the school Christmas lights for testing. A total of 98 sets of lights were sent in and tested by a specialist electrical engineer. Unfortunately 29% of the lights had to be condemned due to lack of safety features or excessive wear and a further 25% required attention, such as the replacement of bulbs, before they could be used.

    Only 38% of the lights tested were found to be fault-free and safe to use.

    Commenting on the testing Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading, Mr Quintin Gill MHK, said, "I was really pleased that the Office was able to provide this safety service free of charge to the schools. We are all guilty of dragging old sets of lights out year after year but because they can be fairly fragile they are more vulnerable to damage than everyday lighting. Wiring becomes brittle and bulbs break or blow putting excessive pressure on the others in the set and causing them to overheat. The schools have shown how responsible they are in taking up the offer of this service and the children are all the safer for it".

    7th December 2005

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