Between 2016 and 2017 alone, the UK fire department recorded a total of 7,822 electrical fire accidents. Preventing electrical fires starts with small actions that seem insignificant, but in the long term could save money and most importantly life. One of the most important measures is to make sure your builiding is fitted with the correct fire safety equipment and emergency plan.
If you want to find out what you can do to avoid emergency fire situations, then follow our advice below:
Electrical fires usually start with a short circuit in an outlet that has too much equipment connected to it. The overload of equipment causes the outlet to short circuit creating heat and sparks with the potential to catch fire.
If you have a six-pin power strip, only use four. When you need to use extra equipment, it is recommended that you disconnect one (ideally, you should only connect your devices when you are going to use them).
Any electrical appliance can start a fire if it comes into contact with flammable materials such as sheets, towels, and carpets. Do not hide cables, especially extensions, under rugs or carpets. If they become overheated, they can easily start a fire.
Keep highly flammable substances such as paints, gasoline or cleaning chemicals away from electrical wiring. If at any time there is a short circuit and sparks fall on the containers, the flammable liquids will ignite and fire will spread uncontrollably.
Early detection of fire gives you the occupant the best possible chance of eascape. Make sure your building is fitted with the correct early warning detection system and that all fire systems and equipment are regularly serviced and maintained.
Damaged cables are another common cause of electrical fires. If you find any cables that are old, damaged, patched or worn, you should replace them with a new one. Wiring in bad condition runs the risk of overheating or sparking and starting fires. Carrying out regular PAT testing will ensure your cables and appliances are in good working order.
Maybe you're busy working on your laptop, the laptop is plugged into the mains charger and suddenly you have to nip out to the shop. You place the laptop on the sofa and think nothing of it. It happens all the time. However, it is not recommended. Leaving unattended equipment such as laptops, chargers, hair dryers or irons is a fairly common fire hazard. Try to turn them off when they are not in use or at least be present whilst they are plugged in or turned on. Leaving appliances un attended is one of the most common causes of house fire.
Connecting extension cords doesn't always work out well. If you need to operate equipment that is too far from an outlet, use only a single extension cord. Sometimes when one overheats it starts a circle of short circuits that, well, we don't have to explain to you how it ends…
It probably costs you a little money outside the family budget, but it's a necessary expense. Carrying out a fixed wiring test or EICR is essential to understanding the electrical condition of your wiring. If you are a home owner it is recommended to test your wiring every 10 years. If you are a landlord or living in a rental property the wiring should be tested every 5 years. Remember: consult only with certified electrical experts.
This image was taken by one of our engineers who attended a site following a fuse board fire in a resedential home. The fire was started by a fuse board which had not been tested for more than 25 years. A short citcuit caused the fuse board to ignite and catch fire. Luckily in this case everyone managed to eascape the home without harm.
This pitcure shows the destruction and damage smoke damage causes to houses. Prevention is the best option.
For further reading take a look at our 10 Most Common Casuses Of Fire And How To Prevent Them post.