Electrical Fire Safety Week - 24 to 30 January 2011
The picture shows a fire caused by an electric blanket last year - fortunately it was discovered before it got out of control. Click here for links to a wide range of Electrical Safety Council leaflets.
19 January 2011
Firefighters are urging people to be aware of the dangers of overloaded sockets and overheated appliances.
Faulty or misused electrical products are the biggest causes of accidental house fires in the country, prompting the launch on 24 January of the first national Electrical Fire Safety Week.
Last year there were 228 accidental house fires in Buckinghamshire and 142 in Milton Keynes, of which more than half (121 in Buckinghamshire and 77 in Milton Keynes) were started by something electrical.
The majority of these were caused by electric cookers, grills, tumble dryers, dishwashers, washing machines, wiring and plugs.
Government figures show that accidental fires caused by electricity could cause as many as 40 deaths a year nationally.
Terry Ridgley, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety manager, said: "Electrical appliances have become a staple of modern life. Just think how many more we have now than we did 20 or 30 years ago.
"With the recent cold weather, many sockets could still be loaded with heaters and electric blankets.
"The majority of electrical fires start in the kitchen, so be extra careful when using cooking appliances.
"We are working hard to bring down the number of deaths and injuries caused by fires, and everyone can help by checking that the electrical equipment they use every day is in good shape and is operated properly.”
Terry's top tips are:
- Don’t overload plug sockets.
- Regularly check for worn or frayed wires.
- Unplug appliances when not in use.
- Keep appliances clean and in good working order.
- Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.
- Your electric blanket should be unplugged before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use.
- Consider using an RCD (Residual Current Device) - a sensitive switching device that quickly turns the electricity off when danger arises to reduce the risk of death or serious injury. RCD protection is particularly important when using electrical equipment outdoors.
- Ensure you have a working smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home and that you test your smoke alarms weekly. Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will carry out a free home safety check, fitting free smoke alarms where needed. Book one by ringing 01296 744477 or emailing email@example.com
Electrical Fire Safety Week, which runs from 24 to 30 January, has been organised by fire and rescue services, the national Fire Kills campaign and leading safety charity the Electrical Safety Council.
For more information about the Electrical Safety Council, visit www.esc.org.uk