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Electrical Fire Safety Week - 24 – 30 January, 2011

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Electrical Fire Safety Week - 24 – 30 January, 2011

Electrical appliances have become a staple of modern life – from fridges and phones to toasters or televisions, and it’s hard to imagine how we’d get by without a few electrically-powered essentials. And with the recent cold weather, many sockets could still be loaded with extra heaters and electric blankets.

But in 2007 over 60 percent of all accidental house fires were caused by electrical equipment, and so the Fire Kills campaign and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (H&WFRS) have joined forces with the Electrical Safety Council to spread the fire safety message and ensure people are taking care with their appliances.

Each year, faulty or misused electrical products cause around 100 fires* across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. In 2007, accidental electrical fires in the home resulted in 40 deaths across the country and H&WFRS are committed to helping bring this number down. But every individual can take steps to help them by checking that the electrical equipment they use everyday is in good shape and is operated properly.

Station Commander Grant Wills from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said:

“Fire in the home can be devastating, but many of these fires are preventable. Over half of all accidental fires begin with an electrical appliance, so it’s really important that everyone makes sure that their electrics are in good working order and are used properly. The majority of electrical fires start in the kitchen, so be extra careful when using cooking appliances. By following some simple steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire.”

  • 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
  • Consider using a Residual Current Device (a device which protects against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires)

The Electrical Safety Council advises that heaters should be kept clear from curtains and furniture and should never be used for drying clothes, while your electric blanket should be unplugged before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use.

As well as promoting these key messages throughout Electrical Fire Safety Week, H&WFRS will also be holding an electric blanket testing session at Amphlett Hall in Bromsgrove on Wednesday 26 January where anyone can take their electric blanket along to be safety checked. Full details of the event are listed online at www.hwfire.org.uk .

To help keep you and your family safe from fire, H&WFRS provides free home fire risk checks and, where necessary, free smoke alarms. Please call 0800 032 1155 to arrange a visit to your home to get fire safety advice specific to you and your household.