Electrical fires are one of the main causes of fire starting in the home and very often the fire is caused by something that could have been prevented if fixed by the home owners.
It’s not just home holders that need to avoid electrical fires, it is business owners too. The same electrical recommendations apply whether in the home or work place.
There are two main components to electricity – that is the wiring itself in the property and electrical appliances. If either (or both) of these are defective, then the risk of fire is of course far greater.
To keep yourself, family and colleagues safe you need to look out for a few simple indicators, as well as follow a few common sense procedures to avoid an electrical fire.
If you notice any of the following problems, then consult a qualified electrician at the earliest opportunity:
Hot plugs and sockets
Lights that flicker
Scorch marks on sockets, fuse boxes and switches
Fuses that blow for no obvious reason
Here at Fulcher Edwards we have vast experience in dealing with fire safety and not only do we offer a wide range of electrical services in Hertfordshire and London, we can also advise on fire safety both in the home and business. We can also provide a workplace fire training course.
Some of these recommendation may seem obvious but it is not uncommon for us to visit properties and business premises and find electric heaters in bathrooms, towels covering electric heaters, and multiple adapters in plug sockets. Quite often, the householder is aware of the risk they are taking and because they haven’t yet experienced a fire assume that all is safe. It can take some time for a fire to occur, it doesn’t have to happen straight away!
Turn off and unplug all electrical appliances when you are not using them except those that are meant to be permanently switched on (like the fridge or DVD recorder).
Make sure plugs have the correct fuse for the appliance being used. If in doubt, refer to the manufacturers instructions
Use only one plug in each socket.
If you have to use an adapter, use a fused ‘in line’ type.
Avoid multi-way adapters and overloading electric sockets by using several adapters as they may overheat.
Don’t run leads or cables under carpets or rugs – you won’t be able to see if they become damaged.
Check for signs of loose wiring and faulty plugs or sockets (such as scorch marks or flickering lights) and have any problems you find fixed by an electrician.
Replace worn, damaged or taped up leads and cables.
Always use a proper ironing board and turn off the iron after use. Make sure the iron is left to cool on a heat resistant surface away from curtains, carpets and anything else that may catch fire.
Always switch off hair straighteners/curling tongs after use and leave to cool on a heat resistant surface away from curtains, carpets and anything else that can catch fire.
Checking regularly for faults with wiring and electrical appliances can help avoid an electrical fire. Electrical fires have caused devastation to homes and businesses across the UK as well as claimed lives. A few minutes of being vigilant on a daily basis could save your life.
Electrical Safety First also have a great system on their website in which you can check if any of your home appliances or electrical equipment have been recalled. A product will be recalled by the manufacturer if it is deemed not to be safe, and therefore increase the chance electrical fires. It is also a good idea to register your new appliances as that will enable the manufacturer to easily get in touch with you if your product is being recalled. You can register your appliances here!