News release text
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is helping to support national Electrical Fire Safety Week (23-29 September) after nearly a third of all accidental fires attended last year in homes across the county involved electrical items*.
Firefighters and community safety officers will be holding awareness events throughout the week, offering free advice on how a few simple steps can make a real difference in keeping your family safe from fire this autumn**.
From identifying faults on fridges, to making sure you let tumble dryers run full cycle, the advice fuses together previous experience and the latest research by fire investigation officers including Station Manager David Wales.
David explains: “Many accidental electrical fires can be avoided by simply following the manufacturers’ instructions. This includes not overloading extension leads and unplugging appliances not being used for long periods of time.
“We have also found that a regular cause of fire in the home is residents leaving items such as shopping on cooker tops, which can be accidentally switched on, or placing heaters too close to flammable items such as a sofa or curtains.
“I would also remind people to carefully check the recommended time and power level when putting items in the microwave. Particular care is needed for non-food items such as wheat pack pillows, other heated pads or soft toys.”
David’s research into electrical fires has recently been included in Which? magazine and also highlights the following safety tips:
Don’t overload plug sockets
Regularly check for worn or frayed wires
Keep appliances clean and in good working order.
Unplug appliances when not in use
Consider using a Residual Current Device
Fit smoke alarms on each floor of your home and test them weekly
KFRS Head of Community Safety, Stuart Skilton, added: “Electrical equipment is an inescapable part of all our lives, from essentials like heating and lights to luxuries like entertainment systems or beauty products. Electrical fire can and do break out with very little warning, so it’s vital that you have working smoke alarm on every floor of your home and check them regularly.”
For further advice on how to keep you, your family or a neighbour safe from fire call Kent Fire and Rescue Service for free on 0800 923 7000 or go to www.3breaths.info for further information.
* 175 out of 577 accidental fires in the home attended by KFRS last year involved electrical items (1 January 2012 – 31 December 2012)
** Fire crews offering electrical fire safety advice at the following locations:
Dartford – Checkout area of B & Q on Prospect Place (23,27,29 September)
Sheppey – At the town centre for a public awareness event (24 September)
Broadstairs – Outside PC World and Comets on Margate Road (24 September)
Sittingbourne – on the high street outside Argos store on (26 September)
Faversham – at the weekly market in the town centre (27 September)
Sittingbourne – Outside Homebase at the retail park on Mill Way (27 September)
Strood – Outside Argos at the retail park on Knight Road (27 September)
Medway – McMillan coffee morning at Medway station discussing electrical safety (27 September)
Canterbury - Stage area of Rose Lane (28 September)