More than half of all fires in homes are caused by electrical items, with 1,873 fires in England in 2015 being caused by domestic white goods.
The items we most value, designed to make our lives so much easier, could in fact be putting us at risk. Washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers are revealed to be the top cause of all electrical fires in the home.
In Wales, similar statistics were seen, with white goods being the cause of 1,934 electrical fires out of a total of 3,310 accidental domestic fires.
Electrical Safety First, the UK’s electrical safety experts, have released a few tips on how to stay safe in your own home.
• Consider fitting your fusebox with an RCD (Residual Current Device). It’s a life-saving device that switches the electricity off automatically if there is a fault. You can also buy plug-in RCDs for use in individual sockets.
• Have the electrical installation in your home checked by a registered electrician. Homeowners should have this done every ten years, or when you move house.
• Don’t store combustible materials (clothes, papers, cleaning materials etc.) close to your service head (cutout fuse), electricity meter or fusebox, particularly if these are under the stairs (a means of escape from upper levels in an emergency).
• Don’t overload electrical adaptors by plugging too many appliances into one socket, especially those with a high electrical current rating such as kettles, irons and heaters.
• If you are using a portable heater to keep warm, keep it away from flammable materials like papers, curtains and furniture and never use one to dry your clothes.
• Turn off any electrical appliances that you are not using, particularly at night, when a fire can quickly spread unnoticed and cause more danger and damage.
• Before plugging your appliances in for use, check flexible cables for damage, wear and tear, and that the plug is fastened securely to the cable. Don’t use the appliance unless it and its cable are in good condition.
• Hand-held electrical appliances, such as hair dryers and straighteners, get very hot in normal use. Make sure that when you have finished using them, you switch them off, unplug them and put them away, preferably storing hair straighteners and similar beauty products in heat-proof pouches.
Tips for safer white goods
• Buy from a reputable dealer/manufacturer and never buy second hand white goods.
• Always register your appliance with the manufacturer so you can be notified if there’s a problem.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
• If you’re concerned about an appliance in your home, use Electrical Safety First’s online product checker (below) to see if it has been recalled.
Online product checker
Simply type in your product manufacturer to search through a list of all items.
*Widget from Electrical Safety First