Every year, over half of accidental domestic fires in the UK are caused by electricity. The majority of these are caused by electrical products being either misused or faulty and over half of these type of electrical fires start in the kitchen, with cooking appliances and white goods being the main cause. Electrical Safety Fire have put together some advice to help keep homes and loved ones safe from electrical fires.
- Ensure your electrical installation is checked by a registered electrician
- Check sockets regularly – if you see burn marks or they feel hot, get a registered electrician to check if they need repairing or replacing
- Have additional sockets installed if existing sockets and/or adaptors are overloaded
- Turn off any electrical appliances that you are not using, particularly at night when a fire can quickly spread unnoticed and cause greater danger and damage
- Check flexible cables to appliances before plugging them in to use. Check for damage, wear and tear, and that the plug is fastened securely to the cable. Do not use unless it and the cable are in good condition
- Be extra careful when using hand-held electrical appliances. Make sure that you switch them off and unplug once finished – this is particularly important with items that get very hot in normal use e.g., hair dryers, straighteners etc. If left on, these can get extremely hot and easily cause any material to combust and catch fire
- Call the Fire & Rescue Service immediately if you smell burning that cannot be explained. They will have equipment such as thermal imaging cameras that can detect objects that are overheating
- Overload electrical adaptors by plugging too many appliances into one socket, especially appliances with a high electrical current rating such as kettles, irons, and heaters. To help get an idea of how many plugs can be safely plugged into one socket check out the Socket Overload Counter on our website!
- Put electric heaters near curtains or furniture or dry clothes on them
- Cover the air vents on storage heaters or fan heaters
- Trail flexible cables under carpets or rugs
- Use a blub with a higher wattage than printed on the light fitting or lampshade you are using
Electrical Safety First also have an app that is available to help carry out visual checks around the house. You can find out more about this on their website http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guidance/safety-around-the-home/visual-checks/
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