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Stay safe when shopping online- Electrical Fire Safety Week

Date : 23 November 2020


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East Sussex Fire and Rescue are supporting Electrical Fire Safety Week and we are calling on shoppers to be aware of buying fake electrical products as Christmas approaches.

New research from consumer safety charity Electrical Safety First reveals millions more UK consumers than usual will turn to online marketplaces for this Christmas due to COVID-19 fears. It is believed that almost 3 in 5 (58%) Brits plan to shop on online marketplaces for Christmas.

UK consumers are swapping one safety risk for another as COVID-19 concerns move them away from the high street and onto online marketplaces where dangerous electrical products that present a serious fire risk lurk, a Charity is warning.

Lisa Priestman (Community Safety Manager) has this advice: 

“When you’re buying electrical goods, make sure they come from a reputable retailer. Second hand goods may have suffered damage which you can’t easily see so get them checked out by an expert. And always think twice if you are getting what seems to be an unmissable big name bargain – it may well be a dangerous fake.” 

Over half of all accidental house fire are caused by electricity

It’s not just gadgets like mobiles and tablets which can cause problems. White goods such as washing machines and tumble dryers have been known to cause fires. 

Nationally over half of all accidental house fires are caused by electricity. And nine out of ten electrical fires are caused by electrical products, according to Electrical Safety First

In East Sussex and Brighton and Hove in 2018-19, we had 676 accidental fires which affected homes, other residential and non-domestic properties. 119 were caused by a fault in an equipment or appliance and a further 77 by a faulty fuel supply - electricity. 

Safety hints 

  • Buy electrical products from reputable retailers, this way you can be assured you’re buying the real thing.
  • Check prices and shop around! Check online shops and if possible, visit the high street. If a bargain looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Beware glowing reviews, especially if the reviewers aren’t verified.
  • Beware of words qualifying an item’s authenticity, if the seller claims the product is ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ double check the source. Most reputable retailers don’t need to sell their products like this.
  • Look for the seller’s contact details, for online marketplaces. Look for a full address and not just a PO Box number.  Not all websites with a .co.uk address are based in the UK.
  • Read product guarantees, terms and conditions, and returns policies before you buy. 

Further information

Click here for more information, advice and guidance regarding electrical safety.

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