Electricity is involved in about two thirds of all accidental house fires, with household appliances the most common culprits.
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.
Another big problem is overloading sockets and extension leads. Although many extension leads have four or more plug sockets, it doesn’t mean they can take that many items. High powered appliances like hair dryers, straighteners and irons can easily cause you to exceed the extension lead’s the limit, which is normally 13 amps.
But there are some simple things you can do to prevent electrical fires. For example:
- Don’t buy cheap, unbranded chargers and make sure chargers are compatible to the device you are using
- Don’t leave things to charge overnightor 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
Watch our electrical safety video
If you’re worried about overloaded electrical sockets, you can try the plug socket overload calculator from Electrical Safety First.
Electrical Safety First also provides a list of electrical products which have been recalled for safety reasons.
If you buy a new electrical appliance, particularly something large like a fridge, freezer, washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer, you should also register it. That way you will have peace of mind that if your appliance is recalled for safety reasons, you will be the first to find out. You can do this at Register My Appliance
There are lots of cheap, unbranded goods on the market, particularly on the internet. There is more about the dangers of counterfeit, sub standard electrical goods here