Firefighters support electrical safety campaign

Sun 22 Sep, 2013


Faulty or misused electrical equipment – particularly in the kitchen - caused more than 200 fires in homes in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes last year.

Now Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and the Electrical Safety Council are campaigning to urge householders to take action so that they don’t become one of this year’s statistics.

Dirty ovens, dodgy wiring and electrical equipment such as irons and hair straighteners accidentally left on, are among the numerous and often unnoticed fire hazards in the typical home. In addition, many sockets could be overloaded with space heaters and electric blankets because of the cold weather.

Neil Boustred, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “We are asking people to check that the electrical equipment they use every day is in good shape and is operated properly.

“People could be risking potentially fatal fires in the home because of a lack of knowledge about the real danger of electricity.

“Fires in the home can be devastating, but many could have been prevented if people had simply unplugged a piece of equipment after using it or been a bit more careful in the kitchen."

Neil offered the following simple safety tips:

  • Keep appliances in the kitchen and other rooms clean and in good working order.
  • Don’t overload plug sockets and adapters, and don't plug adapters into other adapters. Use the Electrical Safety Council’s online socket overload calculator (see link at top of page) to check. High-current appliances include kettles, hairdryers, irons, dishwashers and heaters. Low-current appliances include televisions, computers, hi-fis and radios.
  • Switch off and unplug appliances when not in use.
  • Check that your electrical products have not been recalled (see link at top of page). 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.
  • Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture.
  • If you have a meter cupboard, don’t store combustible materials close to electrical intake equipment.
  • Don't buy counterfeit or substandard goods. Buy your electrical chargers from a reputable source. Many imported chargers do not satisfy UK safety regulations and can cause serious electric shock, injury or fire.
  • Don’t use foreign appliances in UK sockets unless they have been converted for UK use with a suitable conversion plug.
  • Consider using a residual current device (RCD), which works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires. RCD protection is particularly important when using electrical equipment outdoors.
  • In the event of a fire involving electricity, get out, stay out and 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.