A rise in electrical fires across South Yorkshire has been blamed on everything from phone chargers to e-cigs.
Fire officers say that whilst nearly every type of fire has reduced significantly during the last decade, thanks to safety visits and better awareness of risks, electrical incidents have stubbornly refused to drop.
Electricity is involved in about two thirds of all accidental house fires, with household appliances the most common culprits.
There were 190 house fires involving electricity in 2014/15, up from 165 the previous year and 150 in 2012/13. The kitchen is the most likely room in the house where electrical fires will start.
Sometimes fires are caused by faulty goods, which could be small items like mobile chargers, or big things like washing machines and dryers.
Fires are also caused by people misusing electrical appliances, for example by leaving them plugged in for too long or covering them up allowing them to overheat.
Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “This isn’t about scaremongering but about making sure that consumers have all the available safety information. The vast majority of electrical goods are manufactured to very high safety standards, but sometimes if they are misused or if there is a fault with the device they can start a fire.
“The simple truth is that homes have more small electrical devices in them than probably any time in our history- from tablets and mobile phones, to e-cigarettes and games consoles. Unfortunately, we can’t get round everyone’s home to check the safety of their electrics for them. But by raising awareness of the biggest safety issues. we hope we can give people the knowledge to check their own electrics and hopefully prevent a serious fire.”
The fire service has issued the following advice to stop fires:
- Don’t buy cheap, unbranded chargers and make sure chargers are compatible to the device you are using
- Don’t leave things to charge overnight or beyond the recommended charging time. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Keep electrical items away from flammable materials when charging
- Don’t overload sockets– long, strip adaptors are safest, but can only take a total of 13 amps
Officers are also encouraging visitors to check the safety of their home electrics by completing a short, online checklist at 13orbust.co.uk
The fire service’s campaign will see advertising vans carry key safety messages to areas of South Yorkshire known to experience high numbers of house fires.