Electrical Fire Safety Week: 21st-27th November
Homes and businesses around the UK are being urged to prioritise fire safety at the moment, as part of Electrical Fire Safety Week, which is running from today (November 21st) until the 27th.
Stats from Electrical Safety First indicate that more than half of all accidental house fires are down to electricity, while nine out of ten electrical fires are because of electrical products. These days, we’re surrounded by an increasing number of electrical appliances, so you would expect our safety knowledge with regards to such devices to be second to none, but this is certainly not always the case.
A few decades ago, the average home or business would have simply had a TV or VCR player and perhaps a stereo system, but now there are computers, microwaves, games consoles, DVD players, numerous televisions, radios…the list is endless and it’s perhaps unsurprising that the risk of electrical fires is much higher than it was before.
Overloading sockets is something that happens everywhere, especially in the workplace as people need to stay connected in order to be productive. But they may be putting themselves at risk as a result. Extension leads are certainly commonly used everywhere but you do need to be aware that just because there is space to plug four appliances in doesn’t mean that you should always be doing this.
Avoid overloading your sockets by checking the current rating of the extension lead. The majority will be rated at 13 A but you may have one at 10 A so you do need to check. Never overload the lead by plugging in devices that when taken together will exceed the maximum current rating stated for that lead. This could see the plug in the wall socket overheating, potentially causing a fire.
Danger signs include damaged or frayed leads, blackness or scorch marks around a socket, sparks or smoke, smell of burning or hot plastic, melted plastic or fuses that blow for no obvious reason.
PAT testing is something that all businesses will need to have arranged annually for the various electrical appliances they have on site. This is the best way of making sure that your appliances are still safe to use. The good news is that, while you can call out an electrician to do this for you, you could learn to do it yourself and there are many courses around the UK that will teach you how to do it, saving you a lot of money in the long run.
It would also be worth checking occasionally to see if any appliances you have at work have been recalled by the manufacturer because of a fault, which could result in a fire if you’re not careful. Commonly recalled goods include electrical chargers, adaptors, kettles, irons and toasters.
If you’d like to go on a compliance training course, get in touch with us at Learning Plus today.