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As excitement starts to build for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, many of us will be planning how to celebrate. Last year, there were an estimated 4,000 street parties to commemorate the Royal Wedding, and many of us are planning to do the same again to mark the Jubilee.

The weather was glorious for Wills’ and Kate’s big day, but as we all know, you can never really rely on British sunshine. Electricity and rain do not mix well, so Steve Bratt, Group CEO at the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), gives his top tips to help you to stay safe at your Jubilee street party.

• Protect with a gazebo – On Bank Holiday Monday, 4 June, there will be a televised Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace. If you plan to watch this as part of your street or garden party, you must protect your television, stereo and other electrical equipment from sudden showers with a gazebo or canopy. This will prevent electrical items from coming into immediate contact with water, giving you enough time to turn them off at the power socket and unplug them. But remember, it is still not safe to watch television under a gazebo in the rain!

• Unwind cables – Make sure that you unwind extension cables fully, as they can overheat if left coiled on a reel. This can damage the cables leading to electric shocks, and potentially cause a fire.

• Check equipment – Always inspect any electrical tools or equipment closely before use. Frayed or lose wires could cause a nasty accident.

• Do not overload sockets – Do not overload sockets as this too could result in overheating, electric shocks, short-circuiting and potentially cause a fire. A Residual Current Device (RCD) should be used for sockets that are being used for outdoor equipment.

• Trailing wires – Use cables that are specifically designed for outdoor use and take care when feeding through doors or windows to avoid causing cable damage. Trailing wires and leads are one of the most common causes of household trips and falls. Ensure that any cables or extension leads are not left out where they can be easily tripped over, or easily grabbed by children and pets.

• Read instructions – Make sure you read any manufacturers’ instructions for outdoor electrical goods carefully. Inappropriate use of electrical equipment is one of the most common causes of accidents.

• Party lights – If your party is continuing into the evening, outdoor lighting should be low voltage (either 12V or 24V) or alternatively, be protected by an RCD that will automatically kick into action and break the circuit in the event of an earth fault.

• Never leave unattended – Never leave outdoor electrical equipment plugged in when unattended. Make sure you turn off all electrical equipment when the street party is over, and take it back inside.

• Consult a spark – If in doubt with electrics, always call on the advice and services of a qualified electrician. To find a local ECA member, please visit

• Have fun – The Jubilee is a celebration to be enjoyed by all. Following these simple safety tips could stop your party from being ruined by disaster!


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Notes to editor

About The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA)

The ECA is the UK’s largest trade association representing electrical engineering and contracting companies. The electrical contracting industry employs 350,000 operatives and 8,000 apprentices. Our 3,000 members range from local electricians to national companies with several branches employing thousands. Our members carry out a range of work, from domestic heating and lighting to cutting edge temperature control technology.

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