A quarter of all fires in Shropshire homes last year were caused by electrical appliances, revealed Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service at the launch of Electrical Fire Safety Week.
An added danger is that most people fail to register their new electric products which means they are unaware when a faulty product is recalled, said Becky Castle, of the brigade’s Fire Prevention Department.
Stuart West the chairman of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority, will join firefighters and staff at Curry’s store in Meole Brace Retail Park, Shrewsbury on Monday, November 12 from 11am to 1pm to launch Shropshire’s annual fire safety awareness campaign.
Members of the fire prevention team will give out advice and information about electrical safety to store customers and highlight the importance of registering new products.
The average success rate of an electrical product recall in the UK is between 10 and 20 per cent, revealed Electrical Safety First, the charity which organises the awareness week each year to reduce deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents.
“Sadly few people register their new appliances so they are not contacted when there is a product recall which means there are potentially a large number of dangerous appliances out there,” said Becky.
“We will also highlight the dangers of overloading sockets, particularly extension leads and adapters. This is a hazard we see often when we conduct home fire safety visits.”
A total of 59 out of 233 house fires in the county in 2014 were electrical fires typically involving portable heaters, chargers, washing machines, microwaves, light fittings and toasters.
Householders should not overload sockets, turn off appliances after use, watch out for “hot plugs and sockets,” check leads and plugs for wear and tear and don’t use tape to join wires. For a more detailed list of essential fire safety in the home visit the fire safety advice pages at www.shropshirefire.gov.uk or call 01743 260200 for a home safety visit from the Community Fire Safety department.
Electrical Fire Safety Week runs from November 9 to 15.
Watch out for hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow for no reason, flickering lights, and scorch marks on sockets or plugs.
Check electrical leads and plugs for wear and tear and faulty wiring. Frayed leads or exposed internal wires are fire risks.
Do not overload sockets – use one plug in each socket.
Keep electrical leads, plugs and appliances away from water.
Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order, and have them serviced regularly. This is especially important for washing machines and tumble dryers that may be left on overnight.
Never buy an electrical appliance without knowing it is safe to use. New appliances should have the British or European safety mark on it. If the appliance is second-hand, always have it checked by a qualified electrician before you use it.
Plugs and cables
Prevent overheating by using the right fuse
Throw away and replace damaged cables
Never use tape to mend or join cables
Never run cables under mats or carpets where you cannot see wear and tear
Do not overload sockets
Wire plugs carefully
Never cut sealed plugs off to use them again