Top Tips on Preventing Electrical Fires
In the wake of the tragic Grenfell Tower block fire, most home-owners and Landlords are reviewing their fire safety measures within their homes and let properties. Many of the fires which take place within houses throughout the United Kingdom are actually caused by human error, rather than by electrical faults. We all use electricity on a daily basis, but electricity must be handled carefully, as a simple mistake may cause untold damage. Sadly, human error can lead to life-threatening household fires, as well as electrical faults. Whether it’s a poorly wired plug or an iron which is not switched off – we all need to take great care. We use electricity every day, but we can easily forget how dangerous it can be. We outline below some helpful "do’s" and "don’ts":
- Keep a close eye on the sockets from your appliances.
- Take care to switch off/unplug hand-held equipment once you have finished using the items, for example, hair dryers and curling tongs.
- Maintain the good condition of your household's electrical wiring.
- If you are a tenant, request a copy of the certificate confirming that the electrics meet the UK national standard BS 7671 (requirements for Electrical Installations).
- Night-time is the most dangerous time to leave electrical equipment on.
- Check the current rating of your electrical adaptor.
- Check flexible cables on your appliances, such as kettles.
- Contact the Fire Service at once if you detect any smell of burning. The Fire Service will have equipment, such as thermal imaging cameras, which will detect objects that are overheating.
- Overload any adaptors or sockets – especially with appliances that have a high electrical current, such as; irons or heaters.
- Put electric heaters near curtains or furniture.
- Cover the air vents on storage heaters or fan heaters e.g clothes.
- Trail flexible cables under carpets or rugs.
- Exceed the wattage of the light fitting or lampshade with the bulb you use.
- Store combustible materials (clothes, papers, cleaning materials etc) close to your service head (cut-out fuse), electricity meter or fuse box.
If sockets seem hot, or any burn marks surrounding the area are visible, it is important to ask a registered electrician to check over the appliance(s).
Items which become hot during use need to be treated with particular care, as they could come into contact with flammable materials, e.g. sofas or curtains.
Check wiring carefully when you move into a new home, and then arrange for the wiring to be checked every few years. If you rent your home, this will be the responsibility of the Landlord.
As recent events in the UK have tragically shown, a fire can spread quickly whilst you are asleep. So, please ensure that you switch off all electrical goods prior to going to bed.
Before plugging in your appliances; ensure that the total current used does not exceed the adaptor's current.
See if there are any loose cables on kettles and similar appliances. Also, check if there are any frayed cables (or signs of wear and tear) prior to plugging anything in.