London Fire Brigade

Students warned about Freshers’ week fires

19 September 2014

Students are being asked to avoid freshers' week fires and to check that the electrical goods in their new accommodation are not putting their lives at risk.

A fire nearly every day in London

Faulty electrical appliances cause a fire nearly every day in London (339 in 2013/14) and we're asking students moving off campus and into rental accommodation to check their white goods are not subject to a product recall.

The warning also applies to students in halls bringing appliances from homes like toasters, kettles and hairdryers.

If you think there may be a problem with an electrical appliance in your student accommodation, our advice is to always unplug it and to contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician.

Faulty washing machines cause at least one fire a week

New figures released by us reveal faulty washing machines cause at least one fire a week in the capital; fires in dodgy dishwashers are also a weekly occurrence; and blazes in fridges freezers and tumble dryers are also happening at least once a fortnight.

The top ten domestic appliances last year (2013/14) for causing a fire due to a fault were:

  1. Washing machines (78)
  2. Dishwashers (55)
  3. Tumble dryers (43)
  4. Extractor fans (39)
  5. Fridges, fridge freezers and freezers (34)
  6. Washer dryers (14)
  7. Televisions (10)
  8. Electric blankets (6)
  9. Iron (4)
  10. Computer equipment/Hair dryers (3)

Charlie Pugsley from London Fire Brigade's fire investigation team said: "To make sure your freshers’ week doesn’t end in a fire and that the household appliances in your student accommodation are not subject to a recall we would urge students to check the Electrical Safety First database.

"Landlords are obliged to ensure that the appliances they supply are safe but it’s important that students should always double check any appliances they are concerned about and alert their landlord if they have any problems.

"It is particularly important to check your fridges, fridge freezers and freezers as they are left running 24/7."

Phil Buckle, Director General of charity Electrical Safety First said: "Students have enough on their plates during  freshers' week without the added risk of electrical fires.

"In order to reduce the danger, we urge all students in private accommodation to check whether electrical appliances supplied with the property, no matter how small, are subject to a recall.

"This can be done quickly and easily by using our online tool and then liaising with the landlord if a product is found to be faulty."

You should also ensure your accommodation is fitted with a smoke alarm and to check regularly that it works. Also plan how you would get out in the event of a fire.

If a fire does start, you should get out, stay out and call 999 immediately.