Overloaded sockets and overheated appliances are the watchwords next week as Electrical Fire Safety Week gets underway for the first time. It is aimed atraising awareness of one of the biggest causes of accidental house fires in the country. Electrical appliances have become a staple of modern life - from fridges and phones, to toasters or the TV. However, with the recent cold weather, many sockets could still be loaded with heaters and electric blankets.   

In 2007over 60 per cent of all accidental house fires were caused by electrical equipment.  

These statistics prompted action, so experts at the FireKills campaign and Cleveland Fire Brigade joined forces with the Electrical Safety Council to spread the fire safety message and ensure people are taking care with their appliances.  

Nationally, 40 deaths were caused by accidental electrical fires in the home in 2007 and each year, faulty or misused electrical products cause over 50 house fires throughout Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Redcar and East Cleveland. 

The brigade is working hard to bring the number of accidental electrical fire deaths down in the area, but every individual can take steps to help by checking that the electrical equipment they use everyday is in good shape and is operated properly. 

Les Jones, Head of Community Safety, said: "Fire in the home can be devastating, but many of these fires are preventable. Over half of all accidental fires begin with an electrical appliance, so it's really important that everyone makes sure that their electrics are in good working order and are used properly. The majority of electrical fires start in the kitchen, so be extra careful when using cooking appliances. By following some simple steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire." 

The steps are: 

  • Don't overload plug sockets 
  • Regularly check for worn or frayed wires 
  • Unplug appliances when not in use 
  • Keep appliances clean and in good working order 
  • Consider using a Residual Current Device (a device which protects against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires) 

The Electrical Safety Council advises that heaters should be kept clear from curtains and furniture and should never be used for drying clothes. Electric blankets should be unplugged before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use. 

To help keep you and your family safe from fire, the brigade provides free home fire safety visits and, where necessary, free smoke alarms.  Call 01429 874063 to arrange your visit to your home and you will receive specific fire safety advice for you and your household. 


Date posted: 20.01.11