It is now quicker and easier than ever to register large household appliances, such as washing machines and freezers, according to South Yorkshire firefighters.
The claim comes on ‘Register My Appliance Day’ – a national push that is being supported by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue as part of its latest ‘Protect Your Pets’ electrical fire safety campaign.
The initiative, which was launched in November last year, has been urging people to keep their pets and property safe by not buying ‘cheap and dodgy’ electrical items, turning appliances off at night and when they’re out and, lastly, not overloading plug sockets.
And with the campaign soon coming to an end the service is now shifting its focus to appliance registration – with figures showing that less than a third of white goods are registered after being purchased and that two thirds of people have never registered an older appliance they may have bought a couple of years ago, or been given by family or friends.
Station Manager Matt Gillatt, who works within the service’s community safety team, said that the few minutes it takes to register an appliance is time well spent.
“Registering an appliance only takes a few minutes, but it means that manufacturers are able to contact you if they think that something may be wrong with your white goods,” he said.
“Many of the incidents we go to include things like washing machines, and tumble dryers, that have had a repairable, common fault, but due to the fact they haven’t been registered the owner knows nothing about it – until their kitchen has been destroyed by fire.
“The good news, though, is that the majority of brands let you register appliances that are up to 12-years-old so it isn’t too late to do it and help keep your family, and of course pets, safe.”
Only two months ago, on Sunday 17 November, crews from Doncaster and Edlington attended a house fire on Anchorage Lane, in Sprotbrough, which was caused by a faulty washing machine that had been left on overnight.
Following the fire, Watch Manager Gary Ridgeway, who was the incident commander on the night, has called for people to make sure washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and other electrical appliances are switched off overnight, as well as making sure they are properly registered.
He said: “This incident started after the occupant got in at night and turned the washing machine on before he went to bed. There was a fault in the washing machine, that they didn’t know about, which started the fire, filled the kitchen with smoke and caused a significant amount of damage to the property.
“At 2am in the morning, the two people who lived at the house would have had nowhere to go, had it not have been for their neighbours. Fortunately the smoke alarms sounded and they were able to get out, so the outcome wasn’t too bad.
“This is a serious issue for us, though. The cost of a few minutes’ worth of time is nothing compared to the lasting damage that comes with a fire – be it injury to you, your family or a pet, a kitchen that is completely destroyed or something far worse.”
White goods can be registered on the Register My Appliance web portal, which has been developed by AMDEA (The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances) and can be found at www.registermyappliance.org.uk.
The portal was designed to make it quicker and easier than ever before to register appliances, providing access to over 60 leading brands and the relevant manufacturers.