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London Fire Brigade is concerned that retailers of white goods are delegating their responsibility for product fire safety awareness onto their consumers. An alarming survey issued by Which? found that customer service operatives from top retailers and manufacturers are failing to give proper safety advice about fire risk tumble dryers.
Which? called customer service departments of six leading UK white goods stockists asking for advice about burning smells coming from tumble dryer models that are subject to a safety notice and known to be a fire risk. The Which? survey reported at best inadequate and in some cases dangerous advice being provided.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley said: “If any appliance smells like it is burning, your first action should be to unplug it and that should also be the first thing that a customer service department advises.
“Consumers put their trust into retailers and manufacturers so it is vitally important the public are able to get correct safety advice quickly about products in their homes which are subject to a safety notice.
“The risk is real as the Brigade attends, on average, nearly one fire in London every day which involves white goods.
“Easy access to a central database of all products subject to recall or that need to be fixed following a safety notice is essential to ensure everyone can find out whether they have a fire risk sat in their home.
“I urge the newly established Office for Product Safety and Standards to move as quickly as possible to provide a single register for UK product recalls, readily accessible to the public online.”
Find out about our work to make white goods safer
The Brigade is urging anyone who has white goods subject to a safety notice or product recall to turn it off, unplug it and stop using it immediately. If your white goods are making a strange noise or there is a unusual smell, do not continue to use it and seek advice from the manufacturer, retailer or authorised repair agent.
We would urge people to register their white goods to ensure that they are notified of any safety issues, including if they are second hand.
It is also vitally important to ensure you have working smoke alarms fitted in your property, as well as heat alarms in kitchens and bathrooms to give you the earliest possible warning if a fire breaks out.
In 2016, the Brigade launched the Total Recalls campaign, calling on the government and manufacturers to implement a number of changes to make all white goods safer, including making it easier for consumers to find out if they own a potentially dangerous appliances through a centrally managed recall database.
The investigation was conducted by Which? and not London Fire Brigade. The Brigade has not had access to the findings.