Electrical safety is under the spotlight this week as a national campaign calls on the Government to do more to prevent house fires caused by white goods.
While there has been an overall decrease in domestic fires nationally, the percentage with an electrical origin has consistently stayed around half – of the 31,267 domestic fires in 2015/16, 18,375 had electrical causes.
In the same period Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) attended 385 domestic fires, of which 239 were of electrical origin. The main causes for these fires were product misuse and faulty appliances and installations.
Call for action on electrical fires
Campaigning charity Electrical Safety First is joining NFRS and fire services across the UK to highlight the issue during Electrical Fire Safety Week (20 to 26 November) which promotes electrical fire safety in the home.
Charity chief executive Phil Buckle said: “Electricity is the cause of over half of all domestic house fires in England each year. Faulty appliances and installations along with the misuse of electricity are amongst the major causes of these electrical fires, leading to avoidable deaths and injuries. With more than five fires a day in England caused by white goods, the Government needs to take immediate action to reduce this figure.”
Actions the charity is calling for include the introduction of mandatory five-yearly electrical checks in rented homes and set a target of a 10 per cent reduction in electrical fires over the next five years. It is also working to help educate people about the safe use of electricity and electrical products.
NFRS Community Safety Officer Jo Gouldson added: “A high number of fires in Northamptonshire are caused by the misuse of electrical appliances and these can be easily prevented. A house fire can have devastating and long term effects, not only destroying belongings and memories but also putting you and your loved ones at risk. We are urging everybody to follow our simple advice that will help them to stay safe in their homes.”
Simple tips for safe white goods use:
- Always buy from a reputable dealer or 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. Visit www.registermyappliance.org.uk.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you’re concerned about an appliance in your home, use Electrical Safety First’s online product checker to see if it has been recalled.
- Visit www.whitegoodsafety.com for advice on using your appliances safely.
For more advice and safety tips on protecting your home from electrical fires and accidents see 'Avoiding electrical fires' from Electrical Safety First or search #SaferHomes on social media.