Safety at home is your responsibility
There are fires in between 1 500 and 2 000 homes in this country every year. Over 40 per cent of these fires are caused by faults in or incorrect use of electrical systems and apparatus. Owners and users are responsible for ensuring that electrical apparatus and systems are in order.
Never use a stronger light bulb than the lamp is designed for. Downlights with halogen light sources develop a great deal of heat and can be a fire risk if incorrectly fitted. Avoid using free-standing lamps in children’s rooms.
If you get an electric shock from a shower or tap or similar, there could be a fault in your electrical system. This could be lethal. Contact an electrician immediately.
One of the most frequent causes of fire. Turn the oven off and move the kettle away when you leave the room. Keep the extractor fan filter clean. Oven safety devices are now mandatory in new systems, but the can also be fitted to existing systems.
Covering can lead to fire. Never dry clothes on panel heaters or similar. Do not place computers, mobile phones etc. on a bed, sofa or carpet, since the lack of ventilation may cause them to overheat.
All movable electrical equipment that is used outdoors must be connected to an earthed socket.
All residential units must have manual extinguishing equipment, either fire extinguishers or fire hoses. Everyone in the home must know where the extinguishing equipment is kept and how to use it. Consider how to escape in the event of fire (escape ladder, fire rope etc.).
Registered electrical contractors must provide a declaration of conformity, a final control form and necessary documentation for all electrical installations carried out after 1999. These are valuable documents that must be kept. We recommend that registered electrical contractors carry out an inspection of the electrical systems in your home at least every 10 years.
When using electrical equipment
Follow the instruction manuals for electrical apparatus, for both use and maintenance. Do not use any apparatus for a purpose it was not designed for. Repairs must always be carried out by professionals.
- Small electrical devices, such as coffee makers, kettles, hair driers, irons etc., must be turned off after use.
- Turn off TVs and PCs after use.
- Do not leave mobile phones, MP3 players and the like unattended when recharging them, and pull out the plug after use.
- Washing machines and tumble driers must not be used unattended and must be turned off after use. Always clean the lint filter of the tumble drier before use.
- Brown scorch marks on plugs or covers indicate dangerous heat generation and a risk of fire.
Checklist for a safer home
- 1Make sure fuses are firmly in place and check that fuses/ circuit breakers don’t feel unusually warm.
- 2Check that the residual-current device (RCD) react to the test button.
- 3Check that the fuse box is tidy, that covers around fuses/circuit breakers are in place and that the door is closed (locked).
- 4Check that covers on switches, sockets, connection boxes etc. are not damaged and show no sign of overheating.
- 5Check that there are no loose or damaged cables.
- 6Check that fixed equipment such as wall heaters, light fittings etc. are properly secured.
- 7Check that no lamps have light bulbs that are too strong for them.
- 8Check that you are not making too much use of extension leads.
- 9When these devices are in use, check that the plug does not feel hot: - washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, ovens, heaters.
- 10Check that no installation work has been done by an unregistered electrical contractor.
- 11Check smoke alarms; change the battery once a year.
- 12Check that fire extinguishers/fire hoses have been inspected.