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Last updated: 09/07/2018, 6:17 PM

Brigade welcomes support for campaign to make white goods safer

05/04/2018 00:01
Safety warnings

London Fire Brigade is today welcoming further calls for changes to keep consumers safe from potentially deadly fridges and freezers.

The Brigade has been lobbying manufacturers since 2012 to make changes to the way fridges and freezers are made to ensure they have fire resistant backing to cover the flammable foam inside them.

Consumer champion Which? has today called for all plastic-backed refrigeration products to be urgently removed from sale.

The warning follows an investigation Which? carried out on more than 500 of the most popular appliances which revealed the backing on almost half of those tested is made of unsafe plastic that poses a potential fire risk.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) Charlie Pugsley said: “Not covering a fridge back in fully fire retardant material is an unnecessary risk and there are still too many appliances on sale without this in place.

“There is around one fire a day in London which involves white goods and while most fridges and freezers work safely for years, they are potentially the most dangerous appliance in the home if they are involved in a blaze because they contain so many flammable materials.

“They are also one of the few electrical items to always be left on when you are sleeping.”

As part of the Brigade’s Total Recalls campaign for improvement to white goods safety across the industry, we have called for changes to the way fridges and freezers are produced.

The polyurethane insulation used in most refrigeration appliances is highly flammable and when it burns it creates dangerous gases and thick toxic smoke so the Brigade wants to see the insulation material protected in the event of a fire.

Total recalls logo

DAC Pugsley added: “We are pleased to see Which? is adding pressure to these calls and demanding that refrigeration products are no longer made with any plastic backing.

“We are not trying to scare consumers, but it’s important people are aware of the risks and there are some simple steps you can take to help keep you safe. 

“We would urge consumers to ensure they register any new white goods or electrical products with the manufacturer, to ensure they can be informed if any dangerous faults are discovered in the future.

“Before buying a new fridge or freezer, you should check to see what the back is made of and avoid buying one that is plastic backed.”

What you can do 

  • Don’t ignore it if your white goods start making a noise
  • Check your appliances haven’t been recalled
  • Always keep your white goods in a safe place out of the way and avoid keeping them in escape routes such as hallways and landings
  • Fit smoke and heat alarms
  • Register your appliance

What has the Brigade been calling for? 

  • A single government backed product recall database
  • Recalls notices to be better publicised to reduce confusion
  • Greater regulation of second-hand appliances
  • Changes to the way that fridges and freezers are manufactured
  • All appliances to be marked with a model and serial number to allow identification after a fire

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