West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) and Together Housing are warning of the dangers of electrical fires, with the launch of six new fire safety videos they hope will give people ‘bite-sized’ information on how to keep fire safe.
The videos, entitled ‘Sixty Second Safety’, cover how to avoid electrical fires, alongside other topics including the importance of having working smoke alarms, candle safety and, if you must smoke, tips on how to prevent a fire.
They also give advice for people living in social housing around the importance of keeping communal areas clear so as not to impede escape routes, the importance of keeping fire doors shut and advice on what to do in the unlikely event of a fire.
In the last five years (2013-2017) WYFRS has attended 1,480 accidental dwelling fires across West Yorkshire which were started by electrics – equating to around 29% of all accidental dwelling fires.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: “We hope that people will watch the Sixty Second Safety videos and will take on board our simple yet crucial advice.
“Electrical fires account for almost 30% of all accidental fires in homes across West Yorkshire, so it’s one of the key themes the videos touch on.
“The importance of having working smoke alarms is also heavily featured in the videos. Out of all of the accidental fires we have attended in homes across West Yorkshire over the last five years only 57% had a working smoke alarm.
“In 21% of cases people had a smoke alarm which did not go off – possibly due to poor maintenance or because the batteries had expired. So it’s not good enough to just have a smoke alarm – it needs to be working!”
The Deputy Chief Fire Officer added: “We have teamed up with Together Housing to reach-out to their tenants.
“Living in high-rise or social housing accommodation doesn’t put you at any more risk of having a fire but you do need to think about the impact a fire could have not only on yourself but other residents nearby.
“Residents need to know about what to do in the rare event of a fire to best help the Fire Service tackle it quickly and keep yourself and your family safe.
“Also if people can be more vigilant about fire safety there’s less chance of the Fire Service being called to false alarms which takes up our time and resources unnecessarily.”
George Paterson, Director of Property Services for Together Housing, said: “The risk from fire is something that is always there, but by taking simple steps, tenants can drastically reduce the chance of a fire and keep them, their families and their communities safe.
“Electrical fires, for example, are easily avoided if people switch off appliances, don’t use appliances that are faulty and don’t overload sockets. We wanted this information to be short, snappy but clear and effective.
“Together Housing has a long-term partnership with WYFRS and it’s been great to work with them on these really important videos as part of our ongoing work.”