Shocking figures for electrical fires

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DERBYSHIRE Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) are supporting the government’s first Electrical Fire Safety week this week in a bid to reduce fires caused by overloaded sockets and overheating appliances.

In 2007, government figures showed that 60 per cent of all accidental house fires were caused by electrical equipment so Electrical Fire Safety Week sees government campaigners joining forces with the Electrical Safety Council to spread the fire safety message and ensure people take care when using their appliances.

In 2007, faulty or misused electrical products caused 144 (28 per cent) of the 517 accidental house fires in Derby and Derbyshire. Nationally there were 40 deaths attributed to faulty electrical equipment fires, though none of these were in Derbyshire.

Dave McMylor, Community Safety Officer for Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service in Buxton said: “A fire in the home is always devastating, but many of these fires are preventable. Over half of all accidental fires begin with an electrical appliance, so it is really important that everyone makes sure that their electrics are in good working order and that appliances are used properly.

“The majority of electrical fires start in the kitchen so be extra careful when using cooking appliances. By following some simple steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire.”

• Safety advice includes: Don’t overload plug sockets; Regularly check for worn or frayed wires; Unplug appliances when not in use; Keep appliances clean and in good working order; Consider using a Residual Current Device – this protects against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires; fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and make sure you check that the batteries are working on a regular basis; The Electrical Safety Council advise that heaters should be kept clear of curtains and furniture and should never be used for drying clothes; Unplug your electric blanket before you go to bed unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use.