Most home emergencies occur at 18:30 on Saturday, making this the most dangerous time for people to be indoors.
This is according to data from Electrical Safety First, which found that around four accidents take place every second in UK homes on Saturday evenings.
Every year, approximately 80 million accidents take place in UK homes, with each of these causing property damage or physical injury. This means the average household experiences 1.67 accidents every 12 months!
The most dangerous room in the house was found to be the kitchen, although all rooms pose potential dangers. For instance:
- 7% of UK adults have accidentally started a fire while cooking;
- 10% have started a house fire
- 55% have hurt themselves while cooking
- 17% have burned themselves with electrical products such as hair straighteners;
- 6% have had a gas leak;
- 14% have had a burst pipe that led to flooding; and
- 5% have drilled through a wire during DIY.
The number of fires is increasing notably, rising by 10% in the last year. The consequences of such fires can be very serious – last year, 258 people died in house fires, with 146 of these deaths occurring in homes without functional smoke alarms. Electricity also leads to 70 deaths a year, as well as 350,000 serious injuries, while the misuse of electrical appliances is linked to one-third of all house fires.
Furthermore, fire alone causes one billion pounds’ worth of property damage to residences.
Electrical Safety First suggested that people are taking more and more risks nowadays, which is increasing the number of home emergencies they experience. Overall:
- 2.5 million people have attempted to dry things out in the microwave;
- 6 million (13% of adults) admit to removing batteries from smoke alarms;
- 54% of UK adults say they overload extension cords;
- 43% have blocked microwave vents;
- 47% could be blocking air vents by failing to clean behind the fridge-freezer;
- 17% use power tools but do not use RCD protection; and
- 5% have attempted to fix appliances that are still plugged in.
Electrical Safety First Head of Communications Emma Apter said that not only is it important for people to use registered tradesmen for plumbing, gas and electrical issues, it is also important for them to deal with “smaller risks”, as these can have “devastating consequences”.
She noted that taking batteries out of smoke alarms, blocking up microwave vents and performing DIY while “absent-minded” can cause death and injury, and asked people to be safe at home “for themselves and their families”.
Location Location Location co-presenter Phil Spencer offered his support to Electrical Safety First.
He said that although he has helped a huge number of people find a dream home, he has also seen “shocking properties” that contain bad plumbing, dangerous electrics and hazardous gas fittings.
However, people do not need to live in a “house of horrors” in order to have an electrical accident, Mr Spencer remarked, saying a “split second” of dangerous behaviour can turn a dream house into a nightmare.