White goods cause up to five fires a day

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.

Firemen putting out a fire

Firemen tackle an out-of-control house blaze

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.

Melted white goods

Household white goods are responsible for thousands of fire each year

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

 

 

The top ten domestic appliances most likely to catch fire

It’s not always possible to switch off every single electrical item when we leave the home – unless you want a defrosted freezer and a risk of food poisoning! Simply being aware of the domestic appliances and white goods which are high risk can help keep you safer in your own home.

House on fire

A devastating house fire takes hold

 

Domestic appliances at risk

1) 19% washing machines (482)
2) 18% tumble dryers (460)
3) 15% electric cookers including oven (388)
4) 9% Dishwashers (238)
5) 8% Fridges/freezers ( 208)
6) 5% Extractor fans (136)
7) 5% Grill/Toasters (135)
8) 4% Microwaves (109)
9) 4% Other domestic appliances (92)
10) 3% Washer dryer combos (66)

*Based on a total of 2,562 domestic appliance fires in 2015/16. Only fires caused by faulty appliances and leads and faulty fuel supplies are included in this list.

Read more about how to protect yourself against domestic appliance fires.

Check your product with the online product checker.

*Sources: Pixabay.com, electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.

Top Ten Tips to prevent Christmas burglary

Burglary increases drastically over the Christmas period, with many insurance companies claiming that statistically you’re more likely to get burgled on Christmas Day than any other day of the year!

We’ve put together our Top Ten Tips to help you protect your home this year.

1) Hide presents
Don’t keep your beautifully wrapped gifts underneath the tree or in full view of anyone that might peek through a window – it’s a clear advert that you have things to steal.

Don’t leave wrapped presents on show

 

2) Conceal packaging
If you’ve received some nice new items over the festive period, be careful when disposing of the packaging and boxes. Burglars will often go through rubbish bins during the festive period to see if you have anything of value, so a trip to the local refuse centre might be the best option.

3) Lock doors and windows
Whether you’re in or out, keeping your windows and doors locked is one of the most simple, yet effective, ways to keep would-be intruders out… and you’d be surprised how many of us don’t make this a regular habit.

Lock doors and windows

4) Make it look like you’re home
Whether you’re away for a day or a week you can still make it appear that someone is home. Leaving lights on, or putting them on timers, is a great way to deter criminals. Also consider leaving a key with a trusted neighbour so they can keep an eye on things in your absence.

Leave lights on if you go out

5) Secure your bike
Bikes are one of the most commonly stolen items so if you’ve bought the children a new bike for Christmas, make sure you register it with www.bikeregister.com, the UK’s national, Police approved, bicycle marking and registration scheme.

Bikes are one of the most stolen items at Christmas

6) No notes on doors
It’s a busy time of year, so a lot of us may miss parcel deliveries. Don’t advertise the fact that you’re out of the home by leaving a note on the door – it’s an open invite to a burglar!

7) Don’t leave spare keys out
Under the door mat… inside a plant pot… behind a rock… We’ve all done it, but these are common places to hide your front door keys and the burglars are well aware of our seemingly safe hidey holes! If you must leave a spare key out why not invest in a key safe?

Don’t leave spare keys lying around

8) Be careful on social media
If you’re going away for Christmas don’t advertise it on social media – no matter how great a holiday you’re having! Burglars will often comb social sites when they are weighing up a potential area to hit and your holiday pics will only advertise that your house is completely empty.

9) Mark all expensive items with a UV pen
Not so much a preventative method, but a good way to be reunited with your stolen goods should the worst happen. Consider registering with www.immobilise.com as well, this is the UK’s national property register for your goods and is officially recognised by the police.

10) Check alarms work and set them!
It may sound like a simple thing, but it’s surprising how many people don’t set their alarm every time they leave the house (almost a third of us!) So don’t be a statistic this Christmas – spend a moment checking your burglar alarm is in good working order and use it!

If you have a burglar alarm – set it!

Festive crime – surprising facts you may not know

We may enjoy a rest over the festive period but the burglars certainly don’t! In fact, Christmas time sees the rate of festive crime sky rocket making it the most important time of year to protect your property.

Check out our Festive Crime infographic:

Protect your home against burglary and fire.

1 police officer for every 14,000 residents

Shocking figures reveal a lack of police officers on duty at night, as crime is at an all-time high.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

A report has revealed that only a few dozen police constables are able to respond to emergencies in some parts of the country, which often span rural areas covering hundreds of miles.

Even in larger densely-populated urban areas the police cover is thin, especially after dark, with as many as 14,000 residents being served by a single officer. This figure has risen sharply since 2013, when it was reported that there was a ration of 1 officer for every 420 people in the country.

The alarming new statistics, released under the Freedom of Information Act, have shown that there were 4,661 response officers working on the night shift across 27 of the 43 forces in England and Wales on one Saturday in April.

Greater Manchester police had 193 response officers on duty across its 11 divisions on the same Saturday night for a population of 2,756,162 people. This means that there was only one officer for every 14,281 across the district which is a notorious hotspot for gang crime.

The country’s biggest force, the London Metropolitan, had 763 officers covering 8.67 million people – a ratio of one officer per 11,368 residents.

The majority of crimes take place under the cover of darkness, with 80% of car thefts, 75% of robberies, and more than half of violent offences being committed between the hours of 6pm and 6am.

Crime is at its highest after dark

*Sources: express.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk, change.org, telegraph.co.uk.

 

Rural Crime Drastically on the Rise

Last year alone rural crime cost the UK £39.2 million, and NFU Mutual’s recent findings suggest that this figure could well be on the rise.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

 

It was barely a generation ago that rural crime was relatively unheard of, with farmers only having to worry about the odd lost sheep or hand tools being taken. Today, rural crime is an organised crime of experienced gangs who target farm machinery, tools and livestock. Not only does this cause increasing anxiety for those living the country life but it is also costing the country millions of pounds each year.

NFU Mutual is the UK’s leading rural insurer, providing cover to more than 70% of farmers, as well as many thousands of additional businesses. NFU’s latest rural crime report analyses its claims data annually to assess the state of crime in the countryside, and identifies trends emerging to provide an accurate insight into the state of rural crime and the impact it has across the country.

The cost of crime:

Source: NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report

 

With criminals becoming more brazen, both in urban and rural areas, and a distinct reduction in police resource, it is no surprise that crime is indeed on the increase. NFU’s annual survey of farmer attitudes indicates that more and more are attempting to turn their properties into fortresses, or even turning their back on the trade completely.

Emerging trends:

Source: NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report

 

Improving Rural Security

Improving your security is crucial in protecting your property and attempting to stamp out rural crime. no two businesses are the same, however fitting a reputable monitored security system is a good first step to preventing rural theft.

Source: NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report

 

Smart Home Protection provides a wireless monitored security system, as well as CCTV systems, which means that outbuildings, barns and sheds can be easily protected. What’s more, the system is monitored 24/7, alerting an alarm receiving centre when triggered and guaranteeing an immediate response every time.

A clever PetSmart mode means that your farm dogs and cats are still able to roam throughout the property without setting off the alarm, providing you with complete peace of mind that your home and business is protected.

See the full NFU report.