November’s Electrical Safety Week gained considerable news coverage as part of a campaign to raise awareness of some of the biggest causes of accidental house fires in the country.
Fire and Rescue Services across the country hosted special events and electrical equipment safety testing sessions to highlight the largely unknown risks associated with the use of faulty or damaged appliances.
For those in the electrical safety sector the campaign generated a range of relevant facts and figures that should be of broader interest.
For example, according to British fire statistics, there were 35,000 accidental house fires in 2013/14 - 5,400 were caused by faulty appliances and 13,000 by misuse of appliances.
Illustrating this point, Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service reported that a quarter of all fires in Shropshire homes last year were caused by electrical appliances, with 59 out of 233 house fires in the county in 2014 and typically involving portable heaters, chargers, washing machines, microwaves, light fittings and toasters.
In East Sussex and Brighton & Hove over half of the accidental dwelling fires in 2014/15 had an electrical ignition source. To highlight the dangers, the local fire and rescue service hosted 16 electric blanket testing sessions and across all testing sites 661 blankets were tested, 409 passed and 252 failed, an overall failure rate of 38%.
On the same subject, 15% of electric blankets tested within Bath and North East Somerset failed a safety test, the local council reported.
Emma Apter from Electrical Safety First said: "We want to ensure that everyone stays safe in their homes this winter. Our research has found that 78 per cent of people are worried about the rising costs of energy bills, so electric blankets are a great way to warm up without paying up. But, it is vital that people use them correctly."
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