Firefighters across South Yorkshire are urging people to be more careful with electrical goods, as part of a new safety campaign intent on reducing local house fires.
The county’s fire service says that it has attended over 300 house fires in the last three years, where electrics have been to blame, making it one of the leading causes of accidental dwelling fire in the county.
And with the use of things like e-scooters and e-cigarettes on the rise, and the increased availability of cheaper, imitation electrical goods online, officers are concerned that they could see more such fires going forward.
They say that whilst house fires generally are continuing to drop, electrical fires – caused by things such as white goods, phone chargers and dodgy wiring – are still not going away.
“We’re proud of the work we’ve done over the last decade to massively reduce house fires across South Yorkshire, but our figures suggest electrical fires are still a big issue for us,” said Area Manager Matt Gillatt, head of the joint fire and police community safety team.
“As well as being a leading cause of house fire generally, we are very conscious that thousands of electrical items are sold each day to people across the county. Be it washing machines or tumble dryers, e-cigs or e-scooters, phone chargers or computer tablets, electrical goods are everywhere.
“We are also conscious that people are busier than ever, and as the cost of living continues to rise, people’s priorities may change when it comes to fire safety. That’s why we’ve launched this latest campaign – we want people to try and take a little bit extra care when it comes to electrics.”
The service is asking people to do some specific things in order to reduce their risk of having an electrical fire.
Firstly, firefighters are asking that people ensure their white goods – such as washing machines, fridges and tumble dryers – are registered. This ensures that they will be notified if there are any potential issues or recalls with that product.
Secondly, people are being asked to avoid leaving washers and dryers on at night or when they are out. Lots of incidents attended by fire crews across South Yorkshire have started when an appliance has malfunctioned with nobody there to turn it off prior to a fire starting.
Residents are also urged not to buy fake electrical goods, however cheap they might be, and not to overload plug sockets and extension leads – most of which can only take 13 amps which is the equivalent of one kettle.
“It’s really important to stress that we don’t just want people to be safe so that we can reduce our incident numbers,” added Matt.
“House fires, regardless of the cause, can be absolutely devastating from a financial perspective – and they can really disrupt your life.
Even at the incidents where nobody is harmed, generally people end up displaced as they either can’t use, access or safely live in their damaged home anymore.”
For more information on home and electrical fire safety, and to book a home safety check from local crews, visit www.syfire.gov.uk.