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Thousands of online shoppers are at risk of buying potentially deadly fridges and freezers online warn fire chiefs today.
As retailers slash prices in the January sales, London Fire Brigade is urging bargain hunters to ask retailers whether the backs of fridges and freezers are fire resistant before making purchases.
Fridges and freezers have lots of very flammable foam inside them which must be properly covered in fully fire retardant material.
Fire chiefs want customers to check before they click and ask customer advisors whether fridge freezers have fully fire resistant backings, as it is not always easy to see what the backs are made of online.
The Brigade has been lobbying manufacturers for more than five years to change the way fridges and freezers are made as part of their Total Recalls campaign, but there are still too many appliances on sale without the fully flame retardant back.
Assistant Commissioner for fire safety Dan Daly said: “Not covering a fridge back in fully fire retardant material is like wedging a fire door open - it’s an unnecessary risk as there is around one fire a day in London which involves white goods.
“Buying online means it’s even harder to see whether a fridge is properly covered so please check before you click.
“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 be always left on when you are sleeping.”
Dan Daly also urged consumers to ensure that they register any new white goods or electrical products with the manufacturer, to ensure that they can be informed if any dangerous faults are discovered in the future.
Research by PWC shows that 52% percent of shoppers in the UK are most likely to purchase household appliances online. The UK comes second only to Brazil at 59%. The figure sets the UK well above the global average of 33% of shoppers who prefer to buy online.
The figures also show that the UK has the lowest number of shoppers worldwide who prefer to buy household appliances in store at just 37%.
There is an average of one fire a day involving white goods in London. Between 2010 and 2016 there were nine fire deaths and 298 injuries as a result of fires involving white goods in the capital.