London Fire Brigade

Four million see Facebook straighteners photo

05 April 2013

London Fire Brigade said today that four million people – half of the population of London – have seen an image of a set of burnt hair straighteners it posted on its Facebook page yesterday.

The Brigade said it wanted to use the shocking photo to warn others about the dangers of accidentally leaving hair straighteners switched on, or placed on flammable surfaces.

The hair straighteners were left lying on a wooden laminated floor, leading to a serious fire in a house in Southgate from which an unconscious woman was rescued by firefighters on Wednesday morning. It was the second time in a week that hot hair straighteners have been linked to the cause of a fire with potentially fatal consequences.

Emma Cullen, the Brigade’s News Manager, said:

“Our target was for five thousand people to share the image but it quickly went viral and within 24 hours it had been shared by almost 30,000 people and this is steadily rising. This means that over two million people have now seen the photo, which is quite remarkable.

“There are now millions of people who will hopefully check that their hair straighteners are switched off before going out or going to bed. Our Facebook fans have done their bit to prevent similar fires from happening again in the future. This is a real social media success story.”

As well as being shared by nearly 30,000 people, almost 800 have commented, many of whom share their personal experiences of having close calls with their own hair straighteners. One man said: “I worked in a house where the lady went out and left them on and melted her carpet before I smelled it and unplugged them,” and a woman said: “I left my straighteners plugged in at the wall but switched off and they turned back on and set fire to my desk in my room! So dangerous. Always double check I unplug them now.”

As part of a pilot scheme the Brigade’s Education Team has been visiting secondary schools and teaching 13 and 14 year olds about fire safety including dangers of hot hair straighteners. The teenagers are shown a photograph to illustrate the devastation caused by such a fire; all that remains of a teenage girl’s bedroom is the metal bedframe.

Ends

Notes to editors

Please contact Emma Cullen for a high res photo of the straighteners.

For more information on preventing fires in the home, go to the Brigade’s website: http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/FireSafety.asp

Two straighteners fires

You can read about the Southgate fire that was thought to have been caused by hair straighteners on the Brigade’s website.

Just last week two young boys were rescued from a fire, which is thought to have started when a woman left her straighteners on a pile of clothes when she went to collect a takeaway pizza from downstairs.

Social media conference

The London Fire Brigade is holding itsfirst ever social media conference on 23rd April 2013, 9.30am – 4.30pm. The Brigade’s Head of Media and Internal Communications, Glenn Sebright, is one of the speakers at the event. Further details and ticket information can be found here: http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/LFBSocial.asp

Facebook: Guess the cause of the fire

The Brigade has been running its Facebook page since 2009 and regularly asks its followers to “Guess the Cause of the Fire” when it posts photos of real fires. The aim is to encourage people to think carefully about how fires in the home are started and pass on life saving fire safety advice.