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Fire safety in the home


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.