This Electrical Fire Safety Week has seen countless organisations provide in-depth advice and information about how to stay safe with electronics. Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) has focused on the dangers posed by electrical appliances in a campaign to reduce the number of fires caused by these items.
Since 2006, AF&RS has attended 370 separate accidental house fires that originated in a faulty electrical appliance. Of these:
- Tumble dryers were involved in 120 cases
- Washing machines were involved in 116 cases
- Dishwashers were involved in 77 cases
- Fridge/freezers were involved in 39 cases
- Washer/dryers were involved in 18 cases
Of course, fires caused by electrical appliance breakdowns aren’t just confined to the historic country of Avon, but are widespread across the UK; in 2013 to 2014, 3,902 people suffered injuries and 41 people lost their lives in house fires caused by electrical faults in England alone.
To bring these numbers down, AF&RS promoted a number of different resources that people can use to keep their appliances safe, highlighting Electrical Safety First’s Product Recall Checker, their Socket Overload Calculator and their Visual Checks smartphone app as some key useful tools.
However, Matt Pekett, AF&RS Group Manager for Community Safety, said that the “most important thing” people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones from fire is to ensure they have a working smoke alarm on every level of their home.
He also advised people to put smoke alarms in any sheds or outbuildings that contain electrical appliances, such as washing machines or freezers, and to regularly check the batteries in their alarms.
Other electrical appliance safety advice offered by AF&RS includes:
- Try to use one plug per socket
- Washing machines and other high-powered appliances should always have a single plug to themselves
- Check that appliances are using the right fuse in order to prevent overheating
- Only buy appliances with British or European safety marks
- Keep electrical appliances in good working order and clean them when required
- Watch out for hot plugs, hot sockets, scorch marks, circuits that trip and fuses that blow for no clear reason, flickering lights and other signs of dangerous wiring
- Check old leads and cables, especially in hidden areas such as underneath carpets or behind furniture, and replace them when necessary
- Don’t leave dishwashers, washing machines and other appliances on when the house is unoccupied
- Unplug appliances that do not need to be on 24/7 when going to bed
- Unplug chargers, such as tablet, laptop and mobile phone chargers, as these can overheat and catch fire
Mr Pekett said house fires “can be devastating”, adding that he wants everyone to follow AF&RS’ advice so they can “keep their families safe”.
Yate electrician Andy Warren outlined his support for Electrical Fire Safety Week and the fire service’s campaign. Mr Warren, who lives in Windsor Drive, had a faulty freezer, which led to a serious fire in his garage and extensively damaged his classic car – a Morris Oxford.
He said although he had smoke alarms in his house, he had never considered installing them in his garage, and urged anyone with an electric appliance in an outbuilding to fit a smoke detector alongside it.
Keep safe with appliance cover
An appliance cover service contract is a good way to keep your home’s appliances safe. If your appliance breaks down or is faulty, we will arrange a quick and effective repair, and if we can’t fix it, we’ll get you a like-for-like replacement*.
* Terms and conditions apply