Don't ruin the Easter break with a DIY disaster

Tue 16 Apr, 2019

Picture of toolkit including electric drill

Please don’t let a do-it-yourself disaster wreck your Easter Bank Holiday break. That’s the message from firefighters at one of the times of year most associated with DIY projects and spring cleaning.

Joanne Cook, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “Fires and injuries caused by power tools and blowtorches tend to rise at this time of year.

“Be extremely careful if you are about to use an electrical appliance that has been stored in a damp garage or shed over the winter, or if you are considering using anything powered by gas.”

Top tips for avoiding a DIY fire or injury are:

- Use properly installed sockets and a residual current device (RCD) for electrical tools. Find out more about RCDs on the Electrical Safety First website.

- Always uncoil electrical extension cables fully. Never use multi-way adaptors when working with high amperage tools.

- If you have a separate working area such as a garage or workshop, don't allow sawdust, oily rags and other hazards to mount up.

- Use non-flammable materials or liquids wherever possible. If you have to store flammable liquids, keep them in small, strong, labelled containers with screw tops. Plastic containers other than approved ones should not be used.

- Equip your workshop sensibly, and don't smoke in it. Any heaters should be wall-mounted.

- Don't use a naked bulb - use a proper inspection lamp.

- Don't use makeshift wiring extensions or adaptors.

- When using a blowtorch, never leave it unattended. Have an extinguisher or a bucket of water standing by.

- Check you have the correct tools for the job.

- Ensure that children and pets are safe, with obstructions removed from your workplace.

- Switch off electrical tools at the mains before making checks or repairs.

- Always get gas appliances repaired by an approved contractor.

- Open windows and doors for ventilation when using adhesives and flammable liquids, and make sure that no naked flames or power tools are close by.

- Take expert advice if you are doing something for the first time - many DIY superstores offer such a service.