Electrical Fire Safety
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Each year Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is called to fires in the home caused by electrical faults. Follow the below advice to keep yourself and your family safe from fire.
Buy your electrical chargers from a reputable source
Many imported chargers do not satisfy UK safety regulations and can cause serious electric shock.
- Using foreign appliances in UK sockets can be dangerous if they have not been converted for UK use
Without a suitable conversion plug, the plug and socket can overheat and the lack of fuse protection increases the risk of a fire.
- Don’t overload plug sockets
An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take so, to help reduce the risk of fire, be careful not to overload them. Try to keep to one plug per socket.
- Regularly check for frayed or worn cables and wires
Check to see if the cable is fastened securely to the plug and check the socket for scorch marks. You should always carry out these checks before you use an appliance.
- Switch off appliances at the socket when not in use
This helps to reduce the risk of fire. Switch off appliances when you go to bed or when you go out unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers.
- Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order
Look out for fuses that blow, circuitbreakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights to prevent appliances triggering a fire.
- Check for safety mark
Make sure an appliance has a CE safety mark when you buy it.
- Always check that you use the right fuse to prevent overloading
When you’re fitting or replacing a fuse, it’s important to use the right fuse for the appliance to make sure the cable doesn’t overheat and that the appliance is protected in the event of a fault. Always follow the product manufacturer’s instructions.
- Get Out, Stay Out, Call 999
Never use water on an electrical fire and don’t take any risks with your safety. Pull the plug out or switch the power off if it is safe to do so. Get out, stay out and call 999.
The number of dwelling fires caused by electrical faults in Merseyside were 231 in 2009, 229 in 2010, 190 in 2011 and 111 up to July 31, 2012. During this period, the largest proportion - 214 - were as a result of electricity supply, cabling, wiring and plugs, followed by 77 for washing machines and 73 for tumble dryers. During these years there were the following totals for accidental house fires for those years – 1,390 in 2009, 1,296 in 2010, 1,216 in 2011 and 661 in 2012 (up to July 31, 2012).
Stay safe and follow this advice:
- Don't overload plug sockets.
- Regularly check for worn or frayed wires.
- Unplug appliances when not in use - don't leave them on stand-by.
- Keep appliances clean and in good working order.
- Don't leave appliances like washing machines and dishwashers on whilst out of the house or overnight.
More information is available by going to http://www.esc.org.uk/public/