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Electrical fires are common, but many can be easily avoided. Scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reasons could all be signs of loose or dangerous wiring. If in doubt get them checked by a qualified electrician.
- Make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them
- Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order
- Empty fluff regularly from tumble dryers in line with the manufacturer’s instructions
- Hair straighteners get extremely hot. Always switch them off and leave them to cool on a heatproof surface
- Keep to one plug per socket. High powered appliances such as washing machines, should have a single socket to themselves
- Always check that you’re using the right fuse, typical examples include: 3A fuse – Table lamp, television, computer, blender, fridge, freezer. 13A fuse – Washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, kettle, toaster, iron
- If you have to use an adaptor, use a fused ‘in line’ type but don’t overload it by adding extra plug-in adaptors or using high current appliances such as electric heaters. Know the limits
- Cable drum extension leads should be completely unwound to avoid overheating.
Using an electric blanket
- Never use an electric blanket if you have an air flow pressure relief mattress, or use paraffin based emollient creams. Ask for non-flammable creams instead
- Store electric blankets flat, rolled up or loosely folded to prevent damaging the internal wiring
- Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use
- Do not buy second-hand electric blankets
- Check regularly for wear and tear and replace your electric blanket every 10 years.
To protect you and your family, it’s essential that your home has working smoke alarms that are regularly tested.