Fire safety in the home: Think about the pets too

Mon 9 Nov, 2015

Research by the charity Electrical Safety First has revealed that animal lovers are putting millions of beloved pets at risk by exposing them to electrical hazards in the home. 

Nearly two-thirds of pet owners said their pet would be a greater loss than material possessions in the event of a fire. The same number admitted leaving mobile phones charging unattended, an increasingly frequent cause of accidental electrical fires.

This rise can partly be attributed to an increase in the number of fake and sub-standard chargers available on the market. About 1.8 million chargers are bought online each year in the UK by mobile phone owners in search of a bargain. But these chargers are often made with poor quality components that fail to meet UK safety regulations. 

Electrical Safety First’s Emma Apter said: “Pets are a part of the family, and nobody wants to think of them helpless in the event of a fire. 

“We would like to encourage everybody to help keep their pets and the whole family safe by taking simple steps to improve the electrical safety in their homes that will help prevent fires and the devastation and upset that they can cause.” 

  • Ensure that mobile phones are not left charging for long periods of time.
  • Never leave devices plugged in to charge overnight or while you are out of the house.
  • Look out for the CE mark that indicates chargers comply with European Safety standards. 
  • Don’t overload plug sockets.
  • Never leave appliances unattended –  don’t turn the dishwasher or washing machine on just before you leave the house or go to bed.
  • Don’t leave portable heaters switched on and unattended – this is particularly risky when pets are running around and likely to knock things over.
  • Make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, and test them regularly.

Electrical Safety First is a UK charity dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and damage caused by electricity. For more information please visit 

All consumer research, unless otherwise stated, was conducted from 7 to 8 October 2015 by Populus on behalf of Electrical Safety First with a sample of 2,072 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults.

Electrical Safety First has produced a short video that shows what a cat and dog might get up when left at home alone. It starts with the typical fun antics you might expect, but takes a serious turn when a phone charger that has been left plugged in catches fire. You can watch the film at