Electrical Safety Week 2016

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Its Electrical Safety Week, there couldn’t be a better time to read our guide and tips below.

Don’t underestimate the risk from electricity. Just because there’s no flame doesn’t mean there’s no risk. Electrical wires don’t even need to touch anything for a spark to jump and a fire to start.

What to check for – Danger Signs

  • Watch out for hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow for no reason, flickering lights, and scorch marks on sockets or plugs
  • Check electrical leads and plugs for wear and tear and faulty wiring. Frayed leads or exposed internal wires are fire risks.
  • Don’t overload sockets – use one plug in each socket.
  • Keep electrical leads, plugs and appliances away from water.
  • Always keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order, and have them serviced regularly. This is especially important for washing machines and tumble dryers that may be left on overnight.
  • Never buy an electrical appliance without knowing it is safe to use. New appliances should have the British or European safety mark on them and if the appliance is second-hand, always have it checked by a qualified electrician before you use it.

Plugs and cables – The Rules

Prevent Overheating – Use the right fuse!

  • Appliances that use upto 700 Watts (for example TV’s, table lamps, radios, videos/DVD players and electric clocks) need a 3-amp fuse.
  • Any appliances that use 700 to 1000 Watts (for example vacuum cleaners, small electrical tools, blenders and food processors) need a 5-amp fuse.
  • Appliances that use more than 1000 Watts (for example kettles, computers, toasters, washing machines and hairdryers) need a 13-amp fuse.
  • Always check the wattage of the appliance before you fit a new fuse. If you’re not sure, ask a qualified electrician.
  • Throw away and replace damaged cables. Never use tape to mend or join cables.
  • Never run cables under mats or carpets where you cannot see wear and tear.
  • Use a ‘bar-type’ fused adaptor on a lead, rather than a ‘block-type’
  • Don’t allow the total amps of all plugs in the adaptor to add up to more than 13amps or 3000 Watts of power.
  • Don’t plug adaptors into adaptors – use one adaptor for each socket

Electric Blankets – Does your electric blanket need replacing?

Check the blanket and it’s lead for the following signs of wear and tear.

  • Fraying fabric & exposed elements
  • Scorch marks, damaged or missing tapes
  • Damp patches & soiling
  • Worn lead or loose connections
  • Creasing or folding
  • Get your blanket tested by an expert every 3 years. For details of who can test your blanket ask the shop where you brought it or contact your council’s Trading Standards Department.
  • Replace blankets every 10 years. Never buy second-hand blankets and always check the British or European safety mark.

Use your blanket safely

  • Always follow the instructions.
  • Leave a blanket switched on all night only if it has thermostatic controls that make it safe to use all night. Otherwise, switch it off and unplug before you get into bed.
  • Don’t get an electric blanket wet. If it gets wet, don’t use it until it is completely dry. Never switch it on to dry it!
  • Store electric blankets flat or rolled, never fold them!

Fires and Heaters

  • Keep them clear of curtains and furniture.
  • Don’t dry washing on or near heaters or on fireguards.
  • Sit at least one meter (3 feet) away.
  • Don’t cover the air vents of storage heaters, fan heaters and convection heaters.
  • Use a fireguard with open fires.

Dealing with Electrical Fires

If an electrical fire is small and hasn’t spread, you may be able to tackle it yourself. But it is vital you do things right.

  • Pull the plug out or switch the power off at the fuse box. This may stop the fire immediately.
  • Smother the fire with a fire blanket.
  • Never use water on an electrical fire! Remember, if in doubt – get out, stay out and call 999.

Did you know?

Many local Fire and Rescue Services will come to your home and carry out a Home Fire Risk Check to help keep you and your family safe. For more information on fire safety, visit www.direct.gov.uk/firekills, or contact your local Fire and Rescue Service (not 999).
You are half as likely to die in a house fire if you have a working smoke alarm. If a fire starts in your home, a smoke alarm gives you the time to get out.
Modern alarms are neat and tidy, cost around £10 and are easy to fit. You may find your local Fire and Rescue service may install one for you, for free, as part of a free home fire risk check.

Real Life – a simple mistake

Jo Clarke was busy cooking and didn’t and didn’t notice when the lead from the kettle got pushed onto a hot ring.
When flames suddenly shot up from the plug in the wall, Jo panicked.
She shouted for the children, got them out of the house and called 999 on her mobile.
By the time the fire brigade arrived one wall of the kitchen was badly damaged, but at least no one was hurt.
Treat electricity with care. Keep cables free from dangers.

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