Electrical fire safety week 24th – 30th January 2011

Electrical appliances have become a staple of modern life – from fridges and phones to toasters or the TV, it’s hard to think of how we’d get by without a few electrically-powered essentials. However with the recent cold weather, many sockets could still be loaded with heaters and electric blankets.

In 2007 over 60 percent of all accidental house fires were caused by electrical equipment.

These statistics prompted action so experts at the Fire Kills campaign and Cleveland Fire Brigade joined forces with the Electrical Safety Council to spread the fire safety message and ensure people are taking care with their appliances.

Nationally 40 deaths were caused by accidental electrical fires in the home in 2007 and each year, faulty or misused electrical products cause over 50 house fires throughout Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Redcar & East Cleveland.

The Brigade is working hard to bring this number down in our area, but every individual can take steps to help by checking that the electrical equipment they use everyday is in good shape and is operated properly.

Les Jones, Head of Community Safety, said: “Fire in the home can be devastating, but many of these fires are preventable. Over half of all accidental fires begin with an electrical appliance, so it’s really important that everyone makes sure that their electrics are in good working order and are used properly.  The majority of electrical fires start in the kitchen, so be extra careful when using cooking appliances.  By following some simple steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire.”

The steps 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
  • Consider using a Residual Current Device (a device which protects against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires)

The Electrical Safety Council advises that heaters should be kept clear from curtains and furniture and should never be used for drying clothes. Electric blankets should be unplugged before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use.

To help keep you and your family safe from fire, the Brigade provides free Home Fire Safety Visits and, where necessary, free smoke alarms.  Call 01429 874063 to arrange your visit to your home and you will receive specific fire safety advice for you and your household.