Be a bright spark and stay safe

Cleveland Fire Brigade is urging people to plug into simple safety advice and be bright sparks to avoid electrical fires in the home.

socketIt comes with Electrical Safety Week (Nov 21 – 27) and a reminder that faulty wiring or overloading sockets can be the catalyst for smoke, flames and damage.

There is also a warning not to be caught out by buying counterfeit electrical items, especially in the run-up to Christmas, which could be faulty and dangerous.

Figures to date in 2016 show that nearly half of accidental fires in the house (42%) have been related to electrical equipment. These range from sockets and melted cables to faulty microwaves and toasters short circuiting.

Dave Turton, Head of Community Safety for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Being sensible and following safety tips are the best ways to avoid electrical equipment causing fires in the home. With so many items to plug in, such as lights, laptops and phone chargers, it is very easy to overload sockets. The simple rule is one plug per socket.

“Other safety measures include regularly checking for worn or frayed wires, keeping heaters away from curtains and furniture and looking out for flickering lights and blown fuses.”

Electrical Safety Week is a national Fire Kills campaign run with Electrical Safety First, a UK charity dedicated to reducing and preventing damage, injuries and death caused by electricity.

Follow these safety tips:

  • Unplug appliances when not in use, unless they are designed to be left on, like your fridge or freezer
  • Regularly check for worn or frayed wires – always ensure cables are secured properly to the plug before plugging in anything
  • Ensure tumble dryers and washing machines are cleaned and maintained – excess fluff can build up over time and catch fire
  • Keep all appliances clean and in good working order – look out for fuses that blow, circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights
  • Keep heaters clear from curtains and furniture – never use them to dry clothes Unplug your electric blanket before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use
  • Check all of your appliances have a British or European Safety Mark. Get a qualified person to check if you are unsure
  • Use an RCD (Residual Current Device). It works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and electrical fire risk
  • Don’t overload plug sockets – extension leads and adaptors have a limit to how many amps they can take. Try to keep one plug per socket
  • Don’t leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring. Store them flat or rolled up instead
  • Don’t buy second hand electric blankets and check regularly for wear and tear

For more information visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/electrical