Millions worrying about energy bills will be using electric heaters, but don’t let electrical failure set your world ablaze

Electric Heater

As part of Electrical Fire Safety Week from 4 to 10 December, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is again warning people not to let electrical failures set their world ablaze.

Electrical Fire Safety Week is a chance to remind people to be vigilant at all times, especially when buying on-line, and going for cheap smart tech.

From faulty fridges and irons left unattended, to dodgy plugs and wiring, electrical equipment can be an unnoticed fire hazard in the home. Dangerous electrics cause about 4,000 fires in the home each year.

Counterfeit electrical products remain an all-too common problem while even genuine items can have problems, so registering purchases and monitoring electrical product recalls remain vital safety-factors.

This year we’re again urging people to consider more than just the price when choosing a portable heater for the winter.

The continuing rise in the cost of living may make small, inexpensive space heaters look a practical and efficient way to heat a room. There are numerous products available, which start at just over £10, but saving a few pounds on an unsuitable appliance could prove extremely costly. 

According to the charity Electrical Safety First, with electrical faults and accidents causing more than half of all house fires in England annually, adults frequently ignore an electrical recall notice, citing inconvenience, an unwillingness to go without a “luxury” product and underestimating the risk of continuing to use the product.

The charity also knows people are reluctant to register products, as people do not know how to do it, do not realise the importance of registration, fail to ‘get around to it’ and do not want to hand over their personal data in case it is used for marketing purposes.

HWFRS Head of Prevention, Emma Roberts, said: 

“Electrical equipment is an inescapable part of all our lives, from essentials like heating and lights to luxuries like entertainment systems or beauty products. 

“Numerous accidental fires begin with an electrical appliance, so it’s really important to be sure that your electrics are in top-notch condition and used properly.

“This year, I’d urge people not to go for low-cost portable heaters, putting price above safety.”

Top Tips to Stay Safe

  • 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
  • Never leave portable heaters unattended
  • Never leave them on while sleeping 
  • Ensure they are at least a metre away from any combustible materials, such as paper or curtains
  • Ensure that they are kept well away from anything which could knock them over
  • Regularly inspect your heater for damage. If it’s damaged – don’t use it

Emma added: 

“If you’re buying online, make sure you buy from a trusted retailer, either direct from the manufacturer’s website or a well-known High Street name. That way, if something goes wrong, you can return the product for repair or a refund. 

“Shoppers can also check a product’s status at Electrical Safety First’s free ‘Check It Out’ site, identifying third party sellers on popular online retailers and helping make an informed buying decision. Find out more at

“Having bought an item, don’t forget to register it for free at .

“Remember, if a bargain seems too good to be true, it most probably is.”

Points to consider include:

  • fake and substandard items can be almost impossible to spot and online shoppers can be misled by pictures taken from official product sites, false official safety marks and all-too-believable pricing
  • items can even be priced just below recommended retail value to avoid arousing suspicion
  • buying fake electrical products is particularly risky as they often contain faulty parts that can overheat and catch fire or deliver a fatal electric shock
  • although many items appear sophisticated on the outside, they lack essential safety components inside

Emma is also reminding people that HWFRS offers FREE home safety checks:

You can complete a FREE online Home Fire Safety check by following the link on our website. This easy-to-follow check will take you through your home a room at a time – the simple questions will help you spot fire risks and make your home safer. You can also call our Freephone telephone number on 0800 032 1155 to see if you qualify for a visit.”

Go to the Fire Kills and websites for a wealth of guidance to improve safety in your home, and there is also plenty of advice at /