Electrical safety

electrical safety

The safety of our customers is our number one priority. Our electrical safety check will ensure the safety of your electrical system, however, the biggest cause of electrical fires in homes is faulty appliances. Here’s some important advice on how to keep yourself safe and sound.

Re-chargeable batteries when used safely power millions of devices every day such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets and mobility scooters. However, batteries can present a fire risk when over-charged, short-circuited, submerged in water or if their cases are damaged. Follow these safety tips when charging your devices:

  • Always use the charger that came with your phone, tablet, e-cigarette or mobile device or a genuine replacement. Counterfeit electrical chargers can be deadly, and many fail to meet UK safety regulations, leading to fires and injury
  • Don’t leave items unattended and continuously on charge (after the charge cycle is complete)
  • Avoid storing, using or charging batteries in extremes of high or low temperatures
  • Protect batteries against being damaged, crushed or punctured and don’t immerse in water
  • Do not cover devices in use or batteries that are on charge, in case of overheating.

Many fire deaths happen at night when most people are sleeping. You can reduce your risk by carrying out some simple checks before you go to bed:

  • A closed door can help to stop flames and smoke from spreading to other rooms, giving you and your family more time to escape
  • Turn off and unplug electrical appliances unless they are designed to be left on – like your fridge or freezer
  • Don’t leave the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher switched on
  • Don’t leave mobile phones, tablets or e-cigarettes charging overnight
  • Check your cooker is turned off
  • Turn heaters off, rake out fires and put a fireguard in place
  • Put candles, incense sticks and oil burners out and never leave them burning when you are asleep
  • Make sure cigarettes are completely out. It’s best to wet them to be sure
  • Never smoke in bed
  • Escape routes should be kept clear of anything that may slow your escape down
  • Keep door and window keys where everyone you live with can find them
  • If you or anyone else in the home has mobility issues, ensure mobility aids and methods of calling for help are close to hand (e.g link line pendants) in case they are needed to assist with an escape.

Make sure you put out any candles, incense and oil burners when you leave the room and especially before bed.

These items should always be held firmly in heat resistant holders and placed on a stable surface. Keep them away from materials that may catch fire such as curtains, furniture and clothes.

Tea lights get very hot and without proper holders can melt through plastic surfaces like a TV or bath.

To avoid accidents keep candles and other naked flames out of reach of children and pets.

More fires and fire injuries are caused by carelessness in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home.

  • Avoid leaving cooking unattended
  • If you have to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, it’s safer to take pans off the heat and turn off the hob and/or grill
  • Don’t cook if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that might make you drowsy
  • Loose clothing can easily catch fire – take care not to lean over a hot hob and keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob
  • Keep the oven, hob, cooker hood and grill clean, and in good working order
  • A build-up of fat and grease can ignite and cause a fire
  • Use spark devices to light gas cookers
  • Double-check the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking
  • Check toasters are clean and not placed under kitchen cabinets or close to anything that can catch fire.

If a pan catches fire

  • Don’t tackle the fire yourself and don’t attempt to move the pan
  • Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so
  • Never throw water over a fire as it could create a fireball
  • Leave the room, close the door, shout a warning to others and call the fire brigade by dialling 999.

Deep fat frying

  • Take extra care when cooking with hot oil as it can easily overheat and catch fire
  • Never fill a pan more than one-third full of fat or oil
  • Make sure food is dry before putting in hot oil
  • If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool
  • Use an electronic deep fat fryer if possible – they have automatic temperature controls.

Outdoor cooking

  • Never use a barbeque (BBQ) including disposable, indoors or on a balcony
  • Position your BBQ on level ground and keep it well away from anything that may catch fire (sheds, fences, trees, tents etc)
  • Never use petrol, paraffin or biofuel to get the BBQ going or revive it
  • Never take a BBQ into a tent, awning, caravan or motorhome. Even when cooling, it will give off poisonous carbon monoxide fumes which can kill.

Electrical fires are common, but many can be easily avoided. Scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reasons could all be signs of loose or dangerous wiring. If in doubt, get them checked by a qualified electrician.

  • Make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them
  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order
  • Empty fluff regularly from tumble dryers in line with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Hair straighteners get extremely hot. Always switch them off and leave them to cool on a heatproof surface
  • Don’t overload sockets. Keep to one plug per socket. High powered appliances such as washing machines, should have a single socket to themselves
  • Always check that you’re using the right fuse, typical examples include 3A fuse – Table lamp, television, computer, blender, fridge, freezer. 13A fuse – Washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, kettle, toaster, iron
  • If you have to use an adaptor, use a fused ‘inline’ type but don’t overload it by adding extra plug-in adaptors or using high current appliances such as electric heaters. Know the limits
  • Cable drum extension leads should be completely unwound to avoid overheating.
  • Never use an electric blanket if you have an air flow pressure relief mattress, or use paraffin based emollient creams. Ask for non-flammable creams instead
  • Store electric blankets flat, rolled up or loosely folded to prevent damaging the internal wiring
  • Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use
  • Do not buy second-hand electric blankets
  • Check regularly for wear and tear and replace your electric blanket every 10 years.
  • Secure heaters against a wall to stop them falling over, or fit wall-mounted heaters.
  • Keep heaters well away from clothes, curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes. Always sit at least one metre away from a heater as it could set light to your clothes or chair.
  • Before moving your heater, turn it off and allow it to cool first.
  • Do not use gas heaters indoors.

Faulty electrical goods can cause fires. If you are concerned about the safety of a product, stop using it and make your concern known to the retailer, manufacturer or your local Trading Standards office.

Take extra care with second-hand appliances. Ensure they have been safety checked and are not listed on the product recall register.

Always ensure new appliances are registered so that manufacturers can contact you in the event of any problems. Go to: www.registermyappliance.org.uk for more information and to register your electrical products.

Use of electronic cigarettes has increased in recent years. They are safer to use as long as the manufacturers’ instructions are followed:

  • Use only the battery and charger that’s provided with the e-cigarette
  • Avoid leaving an e-cigarette on charge overnight
  • Never use a damaged e-cigarette.