Bedroom fire caused by bedside lamp

Thu 24 Aug, 2017


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Firefighters are reminding people to switch appliances off at the socket when not in use, following an incident in Amersham this morning.

One appliance and crew from Amersham and one from Beaconsfield were called to Highfield Close at 11.27 after a touch activated bedside lamp was knocked over onto a foam mattress.

Amersham Crew Commander Charlie Walters said: “The woman at the property was not aware the lamp had fallen onto the mattress and left the room.

“A short while later she smelt smoke, and on investigation found the heat generated by the 60 watt bulb had caused the mattress to begin smouldering. She called 999 and the operator advised her to leave the house.

“When we arrived we found smoke logging to the bedroom. When we lifted the mattress the foam combusted and began to melt so we removed it from the house and used a hose reel to put the fire out.”

Firefighters then used a PPV fan to ventilate the house, which suffered damage from smoke and molten foam to the bedroom, hall, stairs and landing. Before they left they carried out a home safety check.

Crew Commander Walters added: “It is really important to be aware of any electrical items or appliances which you have plugged into sockets, and if they don’t need to be switched on when you are not in the room consider turning them off.

“I would also urge people to check they have working smoke alarms installed in every level of their home.

“On this occasion the quick reactions of the woman in noticing the smell and calling 999 meant she was able to able to get out of the property safely, and call us out before the situation developed into something more serious. However she also had alarms which went off once the smoke reached them, and would have helped raise the alarm had she been further away from the source of the smoke.”

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Crew Commander Walters has provided the following safety tips in relation to electrical items: 

  • Carry out a visual check in your home to ensure your safety and reduce the risk of electrical fires. It is often the simple things that you could check that lead to a serious fire – such as an appliance lead near a hot surface or an overloaded socket.
  • Avoid buying counterfeit or substandard goods. Counterfeit electrical goods can contain incorrect or faulty parts that overheat or break just days after purchase, risking fire or serious shock. Faulty electrical goods cause thousands of house fires each year. If a bargain looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order. Look out for fuses that blow, circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights, and this will help prevent appliances triggering a fire.
  • 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 and when you go out or go to bed, unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers.
  • Don't store combustible materials close to the electrical intake equipment (service head meter and/or consumer unit) in your home. The warning is particularly appropriate where, for example, the electrical intake equipment is in a cupboard which is used to store items such as coats, cleaning materials and other things that ignite easily.
  • An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload them. Try to keep to one plug per socket. Use Electrical Safety First’s online socket overload calculator to make sure that you are not overloading the sockets in your home.
  • Check that your electrical products have not been recalled. In the last six years, more than 250 recall notices have been issued for electrical products, mostly due to a risk of electric shock or fire. Yet response rates are worryingly low, with most recalls only achieving around 10 to 20 per cent success. Use Electrical Safety First’s online product checker to make sure the appliances in your home are safe. 
  • When charging electrical items, keep them away from combustible materials, and don’t leave them on charge and unattended.
  • Be aware of what you are charging, where it is and how long it has been on charge, and don't use chargers on surfaces such as bedding and carpets.
  • Buy your chargers from a reputable source. Many imported chargers do not satisfy UK safety regulations and can cause serious electric shock, injury or fire.
  • Never use water on an electrical fire. 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.
  • Fit and use RCD (residual current device) protection if you do not already have it. An RCD is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It provides a level of protection that ordinary fuses or circuit-breakers cannot provide. RCD protection is particularly important when using electrical equipment outdoors.
  • Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them regularly. If you would like a free Home Fire Risk Check, with free smoke alarms fitted where needed, ring 01296 744477 or send an email to cs@bucksfire.gov.uk