The Which? investigation identified that nearly 12,000 fires were caused by faulty home appliances between 2011 and March 2014. More than a quarter of those fires attributed to faulty washing machine fires [1,723] and faulty tumble dryer fires [1,456] during this period.
The research also suggested that there were higher numbers of fires in products from certain manufacturers. Where safety issues are found with appliances – particularly those which could result in electrical shock or fire – manufacturers are required to issue a safety notice, but tracing who owns an appliance can be problematic unless it has been registered by the person buying it.
Electrical Safety Lead at CFOA Andy Reynolds said: “The shocking numbers identified in this report demonstrate how essential it is that people are aware of the fire risks associated with faulty appliances. We are working with partners to highlight the issue of unsafe electrical appliances, and to promote safety and information campaigns.
“Key to protecting your home and family is making sure you’re kept up to date with any potential safety issues and product recalls. We would urge members of the public to use Electrical Safety First’s product checker, to make sure their appliances have not been subject to a recall, and to register their appliance with the AMDEA website, or direct with the manufacturer.
“We recommend that appliances are never left on overnight, or when you leave the house, unless they are specifically designed to remain on, such as fridges and freezers. And, of course, make sure that you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, to warn you if a fire does break out.”
UK trade organisation, the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) has set up a website: www.registermyappliance.org.uk where you can register details of appliances purchased from many manufacturers, to ensure that you are notified if an issue arises.
However, recent research by charity Electrical Safety First found that even where a recall had been issued, more than four million household appliances were still in UK homes, as people underestimate the potential danger associated with the fault, not realising that it may be safety related.
On 13 March 2015 the Government asked Lynn Faulds Wood to lead a review of the UK’s system for the recall of unsafe products. CFOA’s response to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills consultation is available at www.cfoa.org.uk/consultations/2015/4.