London Fire Brigade

Electrics

Electrical fires are common: know the limit

If you're having trouble paying your energy bills don't use candles or naked flames as a substitute for heating and lighting.

Your electric and gas supplier may be able to provide you with free or subsidised energy efficiency measures, such as insulation, or a discount on your bill. Contact them to find out if you qualify.

Many electrical fires can be avoided by following some simple actions:

  • Don't use imitation electrical chargers as they may be unsafe
  • Make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them
  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order
  • Unplugging appliances and chargers when you are not using them or when you go to bed helps reduce the risk of fire
  • Hair straighteners can get extremely hot. Always switch them off and leave them to cool on a heatproof surface
  • For plugs that do not come fitted to the appliance, always check you're using the right fuse
  • Keep to one plug per socket
  • If you use an adaptor, use a fused 'in line' type. The adaptor or extension lead will have a limit of how much power it can safely provide so be careful not to overload sockets
  • If using a cable drum extension lead, it should be completely unwound to avoid overheating
  • Remember: scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that low or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reasons could be signs of loose or dangerous wiring

Using an electric blanket

  • Store electric blankets flat, rolled up or loosely folded to prevent damaging the internal wiring
  • Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use
  • Never use an electric blanket if you have an air flow pressure relief mattress, or use paraffin based emollient creams. Ask for non-flammable alternatives instead
  • Do not buy second-hand electric blankets
  • Check regularly for wear and tear and replace your electric blanket every 10 years