Some 7,000 house fires are caused by faulty electrics, appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets every year in the UK.
How to avoid electrical fires
- Make sure an electrical appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it.
- Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
- Remember – one plug per socket. If you need more plugs than there are sockets, use a multi-socket extension lead with integral fuse, never a block adaptor. To avoid overloading, please use the plug capacity calculator below to see what is safe.
- NEVER ‘daisy-chain’ extension leads or adapters – daisy-chaining involves plugging one extension into another in order to reach further or plug more appliances in, and creates a huge fire risk.
- Unplug appliances at night or when you’re not using them to reduce the risk of fire – unless they are designed to be left on all the time (for example, a fridge or freezer).
- Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order.
Plugs and sockets
- Watch for signs of dangerous or loose wiring, such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that often blow, circuit breakers that trip for no obvious reasons, and flickering lights.
- Don’t overload sockets – plugging in too many electrical appliances into one socket can cause overheating.
- High powered appliances, such as washing machines, should have a single plug to themselves.
- An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload it – use the calculator above to check.
- Cable reel extension leads must always be fully unwound.
- Look out for signs of a badly wired plug – any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug, causing a fire hazard.
- Never cut off sealed plugs to use them again.
Register your appliance
The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) has launched a website where people can easily register their appliances and therefore receive notification of safety alerts or product recalls. See www.registermyappliance.org.uk to sign up to the scheme.