Date: 16th April, 2018
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) is welcoming further calls for changes to keep consumers safe from potentially deadly fridges and freezers.
Consumer champion ‘Which’ has called for all plastic-backed refrigeration products to be urgently removed from sale. The warning follows a Which investigation carried out on more than 500 of the most popular appliances which revealed the backing on almost half of those tested are made of unsafe plastic that poses a potential fire risk.
The UK Fire and Rescue Service has been lobbying manufacturers since 2012 to make changes to the way fridges and freezers are made to ensure they have fire resistant backing to cover the flammable foam inside them.
Head of Prevention and Protection at DWFRS, Area Manager Seth Why said: “Not covering a fridge back in fully fire-retardant material is an unnecessary risk and there are still too many appliances on sale without this in place. While most fridges and freezers work safely for years, they are potentially the most dangerous appliance in the home if they are involved in a blaze because they contain so many flammable materials.
Area Manager Why continued “They are also one of the few electrical items to always be left on when you are sleeping. We are not trying to scare consumers, but it’s important people are aware of the risks. We would urge consumers to ensure they register any new white goods or electrical products with the manufacturer, to ensure they can be informed if any dangerous faults are discovered in the future”.
Before buying a new fridge or freezer, you should check to see what the back is made of and avoid buying one that is plastic backed. Here are some simple steps you can take to help keep you safe.
- If you are concerned about the safety of a product stop using it and make your concern known to the retailer, manufacturer or your local Trading Standards office.
- Clean your tumble dryer filter after every load.
- Don’t overload sockets with lots of energy-hungry appliances – follow the one plug per socket rule.
- A list of recalled products is available on the gov.uk Product Recall page.
- Always make sure new appliances are registered so that manufacturers can contact you in the event of any problems – it takes minutes to registermyappliance.org.uk
- Make sure you have working smoke or heat alarms
- Always keep your white goods in a safe place out of the way and avoid keeping them in escape routes such as hallways and landings
If you are concerned about this or any other potential fire hazard in your home, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue provide free home safety advice and can provide a free Safe and Well check. For more information, please have a look at dwfire.org.uk.