25 January 2012

It’s Electrical Safety Week (23 to 29th January) and Northamptonshire County Council’s fire and rescue service is reminding people to stay safe and avoid electrical failures.

The campaign supports the work of the national Fire Kills initiative and the Electrical Safety Council because shocking national statistics show that half of all accidental house fires in 2010/11 were caused by faulty or misused electrical equipment.

Community Protection Manager, Baz Fox said “A range of electrical items are in use every day and can easily become hazards if not looked after properly. From faulty fridges and abandoned irons, to old plugs and wiring. With the recent cold weather, there is also the danger that sockets could be overloaded with extra appliances like portable heaters and electric blankets.

“Last year, faulty or misused electrical products caused 223 accidental house fires in Northamptonshire. This equates to 47% of all the house fires in the county. We can reduce the number of these incidents if everyone checks that the electrical equipment they use everyday is in good shape and is used properly”

You can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire by following these simple steps:

* Don’t overload plug sockets, 1 plug to 1 socket is ideal
* If you have to use an adaptor ensure you do not exceed the amp limit
* Ensure the correct rated fuse is used in both plugs and electrical consumer units.
* Regularly check for loose, worn or frayed wires and replace appliances that show these signs
* Unplug appliances when they are not in use, this will reduce your energy bills too
* Keep appliances clean, ensuring filters on items such as tumble dryers and vacuum cleaners are unblocked
* Appliances should be in good working order, an intermittent fault means something needs replacing
* Unplug your electric blanket before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use
* Consider using an RCD – Residual Current Device - which works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires
* If unsure on electrical safety consultant a qualified electrician

Find further fire safety advice and information at www.direct.gov.uk/firekills and check out a Fire Kills video clip.