For the benefit of our non-technical people who browse ECN from time to time:
As we approach the festive season and fairy lights are going up all around the Western world, please, please take the time to give each string a quick once-over before throwing it around your tree, window frame, or whereever.
Check for frayed insulation on the wires, and for cracked/broken/loose lampholders that could pose a danger.
A few years ago, the British trade press reported the tragic story of a 6-year-old girl who was electrocuted while touching a damaged light string on a tree in her home. The coroner found from the burn marks on her bare feet that she must have been standing on a grounded radiator pipe to reach.
Please take the time to examine the lights as they go up, and don't use strings which are worn or damaged. You might just save a life.
Have a safe and happy Christmas!
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 12-14-2002).]