The Fire Kills campaign and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have joined forces with the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) to urge people to make basic visual checks in their homes to ensure their family’s electrical safety.
The latest fire statistics demonstrate that half of all accidental dwelling fires were caused by faulty or careless use of electrical appliances.
Research carried out by the ESC revealed a dangerous level of ignorance about the perils of electricity in UK households with simple blunders putting homes and families at risk. In 2011, almost one million people repaired an appliance while it was still plugged in, 12.2 million people knowingly used faulty plugs or sockets and 2 million people trailed cables near hot surfaces or cookers.
People severely misjudge the risks involved with electricity. Around 70 people die and 350,000 are seriously injured each year. Yet, those surveyed by the ESC considered an electrical accident to be an equal risk to being in a plane crash or getting struck by lightning. In reality, on average, only one person in the UK is killed by lightning each year and no one has died in a commercial plane accident in 11 years.
These electrical accidents are often caused by simple things that people could check themselves and rectify for little or no cost. By following a few simple steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire:
- 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
- Look after your electric blankets
- Keep combustible materials away from sources of heat especially around electrical intake consumer units (the cupboard under the stairs)
- Buy your electrical chargers from a reputable source so that they satisfy UK safety regulations
- If a fire starts in your home involving an electrical appliance - Get Out, Stay Out, Call 999. Never use water on an electrical fire and don’t take any risks with your safety.
Dave Sheppard, Fire & Rescue Service Borough Commander for Eastbourne said:
“Electricity is an integral part of all of our lives – from the essentials like heating and lights to luxuries like entertainment systems and beauty products. Half of all accidental fires start from faulty or misused electrical equipment so it is essential to be sure that your electrics are in good working order and are used properly.
All too often, it is the simple things that people could check for themselves that can lead to a serious accident. So we are urging everyone to make basic visual checks around the home to ensure its electrical safety”.
Lorraine Carney, senior campaigns manager for the Electrical Safety Council, said:
“Our free App helps anyone to do a quick visual check on their home by highlighting the potential dangers in each room and explaining how to resolve basic problems in simple, non-technical language. It will also flag more serious issues, for which you should use a registered electrician
It is available for iphone and Android phones – just go to the App Store or Android Market, search for ‘Home Electrical Safety Check’ and follow the instructions to download”
For more information on fire safety, please visit www.facebook.com/firekills or speak to East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service by calling Freephone 0800 177 7069 to see if you are eligible for free personalised home safety advice, smoke alarm checks and expert help with fitting if you need more, or new, smoke alarms.