Electrical Fire Safety
Check your electrical appliances and reduce the risk of fire for your family or housemates
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Product Safety Recalls
Manufacturers occasionally recall products with potential safety problems.
We have information about a number of websites where product recall information can be found. You can also register your appliances a be the first to know of any safety repairs or recalls
- Keep them dry - this includes plugs and sockets, not a good idea to put a vase of flowers on top of the TV, for example
- Switch them off at night - unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers
- Anything made of metal, or has a metallic finish or parts shouldn't go into a microwave
- 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.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions
Plugs and sockets
Keep an eye out for the following:
- Hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights - they are all are signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems
- Badly wired plugs - any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug
- Are the wires are held firmly in place inside the plug
- Overloaded sockets - plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating
- Use sockets safely - it's better to use a bar adapter (multi-board) on a lead than a block adaptor
- Only use one adaptor per socket - don't plug one adaptor into another and try to keep to one plug per socket
Cables and leads
- Getting frayed and damaged - make sure the outer covering of all power leads is in good condition and replace if necessary?
- Badly positioned - they shouldn't be anywhere that they could be tripped over, or near water, cookers or other sources of heat?
- Running them under rugs or carpets where they can wear through without anyone noticing - position them elsewhere?
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:
- for appliances up to 700 watts, use a 3 amp fuse
- for appliances between 700 and 1,000 watts, use a 5 amp fuse
- for appliances more than 1,000 watts, use a 13 amp fuse
Extension leads and adapters have a limit on how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them, to reduce the risk of fire.
If you think something needs fixing or changing, do it straight away.
Plug-in heaters use a lot of electricity and generate a lot of heat.T his means they can be dangerous if they are not bought from reputable shops and used correctly.
- They should be kept away from furniture and fittings. Make sure that nothing can fall onto a heater.
- Keep at least three feet - one metre - away from them
- Have fireguards to prevent and protect children and/or pets coming in contact with them
- Never dry washing on or near them (or on fireguards)
- Try to secure heaters up against a wall to stop them falling over.
- Don't cover air vents on storage heaters or fan heaters.
Electronic cigarettes are an increasingly popular way for people to reduce the amount of tobacco they smoke or stop smoking altogether. While the immediate health benefits may be obvious, e-cigarettes they can pose a fire safety risk.
An RCD is a sensitive device that quickly turns the electricity off when danger happens.
RCD protection is particularly important when using electrical equipment outdoors.
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.
Ensuring the electrical safety of your property and tenants is vital.
It is important that you make simple visual checks at least once a year and it is strongly recommended that you also do so at each change of tenancy.
The Electrical Safety Roundtable have produced two guidance documents to help you make these checks which you can download here. These guides can be used by both landlords and tenants and will help you identify any potential fire risks.
The Electrical Safety Roundtable is a leading industry forum, uniting a diverse range of experts in their field behind the common goal of improving electrical safety in the home.
Electrical Safety First
The Electrical Safety First is a UK charity committed to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents at home and at work.
They provide free electrical safety publications and leaflets.
You can view the full range of information on their website.