It sounds morbid, but one of the less fun parts of my job is monitoring news reports and updates from local fire services. This is partly to find out if there are any electrical fault issues we should know about, and partly for any good fire safety advice we can pass on to you.
A fire safety plan is important for the entire family, so that everyone knows what they should do in the case of an emergency. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service have put together a fabulous article and loads of resources just for Child Safety Week.
Electrical fire safety
You may remember that some time ago we looked at what to do if there’s an electrical fire. Those tips still stand if the fire is in your home, but the most important point for any fire safety advice is get out and stay out.
Regular, thorough checks on your electrical appliances can help you spot hazards before they develop into problems. Take imediate action on any item that you’re worried about – switch it off, unplug it, and take it out of use. Pass it to a professional to be repaired, or dispose of it responsibly and buy a (genuine, approved) replacement.
The reason we say you should use a genuine replacement is that all too often, it’s chargers and power leads that are cause for concern. As you can see here, chargers are a growing problem with the market being flooded with dangerous cheap counterfeits. Chargers aren’t the only items that can be a problem, but if you’re only replacing part of the item it’s probably the charger or power lead.
Fire safety in the home – prevention
They say that prevention is better than cure. Most local fire services offer free home visits, where they will give you advice on fire safety in your home. They may even be able to provide and fit free smoke alarms.
You can also subscribe to our email newsletter, which is packed with information about product recalls (faulty electrical appliances are a common cause of accidental domestic fires) as well as safety advice tips.
Until next time, stay safe!
UPDATE: Less than 24 hours after this post was published North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service issued a statement about a fire they’d attended. An e-cigarette charger had overheated and ignited whilst plugged into a laptop.
I’m still trying to work out how that could happen – USB ports put out such a low voltage that it should be fairly difficult for anything to ignite. My best guess is that the issue was caused by defective components.
And according to the statement the occupant put the fire out with a bowl of water. This occupant was lucky – you should never tackle an electrical fire with water.