From smart phones to toasters, microwaves to televisions, almost every aspect of modern life involves electricity. We love our electrical gadgets and gizmos. We use them for everything from lighting our homes to communicating with our loved ones. Such prevalence in our lives though does mean it’s easy to get complacent and although electricity has made many aspects of our lives easier. It’s important to remain vigilant to the fire risks electrical items pose.
Between January and February 2020, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service attended 55 accidental house fires caused by electricals, 11 of which did not have a working fire alarm in their home.
This is why Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are campaigning over the winter months to highlights the dangers of electrical appliances, covering a range of hazards including faulty appliances, improper use and electric heaters to name a few.
Area Manager Mark Hutton, the Prevention and Protection lead for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service explains more;
Electrical fires can start in any house, which is why it’s so important to have working smoke alarms and an escape plan. There are some really simple habits for all the family to get into that reduce the chance of fire. At this time of year portable heaters are used extensively, ensure they are kept away from items that can burn and that the vents are not covered up. Keep a close eye on pets and children knocking something over near to a heater.
In modern life, portable devices are re-charged daily. Always use a compatible charger and make sure the device is on a hard surface charged during the day so you are aware and aware if a fire starts.
TIP Do you know where your children charge their mobile phones? Some tuck it under their pillow which is great for hearing the ding of a social media post, however not so great for letting heat escape from the charging battery and is something that has led to some serious fires.
Here are some of our top safety tips to follow:
- Make sure you have a working smoke alarm installed on each level of your home.
- Test your alarms regularly.
- Have an escape route planned out and make sure everyone in your household know it.
- Keep your electrical appliances clean and well maintained.
- Keep appliances switched off when not in use.
- Always charge devices with the original charger and on a hard, flat surface.
And here are some things to avoid:
- Never overload your electrical plugs.
- Do not use appliances which smell of burning plastic or emit sparks when plugged in.
- Never use appliances with scorch marks on the plug or socket, or on the appliance itself.
- Do not use appliances which trigger the circuit-breaker for no obvious reason.
The online ‘Socket Overload Calculator’ is available on our website. The calculator is a tool that allows you to “plug in” typical household appliances to check the impact on a standard extension lead. For more information on fire safety in the home, please visit our website www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/electrical-safety