The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) - External Linkis a UK charity committed to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents at home and at work.
As well as running general awareness campaigns and events to help educate consumers about the dangers of electricity, the ESC also runs campaigns and initiatives covering specific areas of risk such as product safety, fire safety and child safety.
The ESC provides free electrical safety publications and leaflets. You can view the full range here (www.esc.org.uk/public).
For more information, please contact the ESC:
Address: Unit 331, Great Guilford Business Square, 30 Great Guilford Street, London SE1 0HS
Tel: 0870 040 0561
Fax: 0870 040 0560
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) summaries this on its website:
"Most of us take electricity for granted. We use it every day and forget that it can be dangerous if we do not treat it with respect. Of reported fires, over 19% are caused by electrical faults and a further 25% are caused by people not using electrical equipment and appliances properly. So, it is important that we do all we can to reduce the risk of a fire in our home caused by an electrical problem."
Electrical appliances, plugs and cables that are old or poorly wired can be a real danger.
Just because there's no flame does not mean there's no fire risk.
Find out what to check for to ensure your appliances don't put you, your family or housemates at risk from fire.
Electric cooking appliances are the biggest cause of accidental dwelling fires in England. Fire Statistics, UK 2007 reported that nearly 14,000 fires started due to 'electric cookers', 'microwave cookers' or 'other electric cooking appliances'.
The Electrical Safety Council, through their campaign, 'Plug Into Safety' - External Link, is encouraging homeowners to use RCDs to protect against dangerous electric shocks and reduce the risk of electrical fires.
An RCD is a sensitive device that quickly turns the electricity off when danger arises to reduce the risk of death or serious injury. RCD protection is particularly important when using electrical equipment outdoors.
There are particular danger signs to look out for on all electrical items you have around your home.
If you think something needs fixing or changing, do it straight away.
For plugs and sockets, keep an eye out for the following:
The risks with cables and leads include:
For electrical appliances, you should never:
Follow the guidelines below to make sure your electrical items are safe to use.
Electrical appliances, especially ones that run at high speeds and contain motors, like washing machines, should be serviced once a year by a qualified electrician.
Plugs, sockets and cables also need to be used correctly, you should:
When you're fitting or replacing a fuse, it's important to use the right fuse for the appliance to make sure the fuse doesn't overheat.
Check the manual or look for a sticker on the appliance to find out its wattage and then use the correct fuse:
If there is an electrical fire, pull the plug out, or switch off the power at the fuse box - if it's safe to do so. Sometimes this can stop the fire immediately.
Never use water on an electrical fire, and don't take any risks with your safety - get out, stay out and call 999.