Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Electrical Fire Safety Week - November 10-17

Make sure you know how to keep your home electrical fire safe, especially if you plan on using portable heaters to keep your home warm.

Portable heaters are responsible For hundreds of fires every year and more deaths and injuries than any other cause.

Many homes use electrical heaters to boost their central heating or as a cost saving alternative to turning on radiators throughout the entire home.

But it is important to take extra care if you plan on plugging in portable heaters. In order to minimise the danger, Electrical Safety First produced the following guidance for heating homes safely:

-    Never leave portable heaters unattended

-   Never leave them on whilst sleeping

-    Ensure that they are positioned well away from anything which could knock them over

-    Ensure they are at least a metre away from any combustible materials, such as paper or curtains

-    Never buy second hand halogen heaters

-    Never power a halogen heater from an extension lead – these can easily be overloaded and cause fires

-    Regularly inspect your heater for damage. If it’s damaged, don’t use it.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “Electrical fires are a major cause of fires in the home in Essex.

“But many of these fires are preventable as long as people take the time to ensure that their electrical appliances are safe and that they never overload plug sockets.

“All too often it is the simple things that people could check for themselves that can lead to a serious accident. So we are urging everyone to make basic visual checks around the home to ensure its electrical safety.

“This check should look for old or worn flexes and make sure that all appliances are clean, well cared for and in good working order.

“It is particularly important to make sure that electric blankets are safe. Do not use old electric blankets, make sure your electric blanket has overheat protect and complies to British Standard with the kitemark displayed.

“It is also vital not to overload plug sockets. Ensure that no more than 13 amps worth of appliances are in any one plug socket.

“The best advice I can give is make sure that you fit, and regularly test, a smoke alarm. It is the single most important piece of safety equipment in any home. A smoke alarm provides vital warning that a fire has broken out waking sleeping people up and giving everyone time to get safely out.”

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