This week is Electrical Fire Safety Week, which promotes electrical fire safety in the home. Half of all accidental house fires are caused by electricity, and nine out of ten electrical fires are caused by electrical products. The cost of living crisis is leading more people to use electrical products at night when power is often cheaper, but West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is warning that this could lead to dangerous fires.
On Sunday, just before midnight, crews from were called to a house fire in Normanton, Wakefield which had been caused by a tumble dryer. Two people needed to be treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics.
Also, in September crews attended another tumble dryer fire at a home in Lindley, Huddersfield shortly after 11pm – there were no smoke alarms in the property and the occupant suffered smoke inhalation. There was also an early evening fire caused by a tumble dryer at a home in Mirfield in October.
Fire prevention manager Sarah Laidlow-Moore said there are steps people can take to avoid a devastating fire in their home. “We know that people are looking at ways to save money – and with electricity often costing less at night it can be tempting to wait until bedtime to put appliances such as tumble dryers on,” she said. “However, people need to be aware of the dangers of leaving electrical products unattended – especially at night when they are asleep.
“Electrical Safety Week is a chance for us to raise awareness of electrical fire risks and talk to people about the simple steps they can take to help ensure they don’t have a devastating fire in their homes. This includes being careful with electrical heaters, which people are using as an alternative to putting the central heating on in the hope of saving some money. It’s important that we all make sure we stay safe as we stay warm.”
According to national figures from Electrical Safety First, microwaves are the electrical product causing the most fires (4,749 over five years from 2014 – 2019). It’s followed by tumble dryers (2,661) washing machines (2,589) dishwashers (1,306) and fridge freezers (1,065).
Sarah said: “Overloading sockets, using the wrong chargers and not checking the wiring on electrical products can all cause fires. We know it’s tempting to save money by buying items online instead of purchasing the branded equivalent, but it can often be a false economy as they can often increase the risk of fire. With winter arriving there are also electric blankets to be mindful of – it’s important that these are checked before use.”
To see if electrical products have been subject to a recall or safety notice visit Electrical Safety First’s online product checker at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/recall. It’s important to always check smoke alarms and make sure all appliances are in good working order.
If you have any fire safety concerns, you can request a free Safe & Well visit from WYFRS fire prevention team. As part of the visit the team will identify any potential fire risks in your home, help you put together an escape plan and ensure you have working smoke alarms.
To find out if you are eligible for a Safe & Well visit call 0800 5874536 or complete an online form here: https://www.westyorksfire.gov.uk/safe-and-well-visits. If you are deemed as being low risk, WYFRS offer a free interactive online resource to help you conduct your own fire safety check.