Fire safety and electrical items. From white goods to faulty chargers, electrical items are the number 4 fire risk in the home. How to be fire safe and electricity smart…

Avoiding electrical fires – how to keep safe at home

From overloaded extension leads and cheap chargers, through to white goods not fit for the job, issues with electrical items are a common cause of fire. So how can you reduce fire risks and keep yourself and your family safe?

10 must-knows for electrical device safety

Always make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them.
Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order.
Don’t buy cheap counterfeit chargers for items that use lithium batteries, and never leave phones or laptops plugged in to charge overnight – learn more about charger safety here.
Empty fluff regularly from tumble dryers in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Hair straighteners can get extremely hot – always switch them off and leave them to cool on a heatproof surface.
Try to keep to one plug per socket, especially for high powered appliances like washing machines.
Always check that you’re using the right fuse – if you’re confused, check out our guide to fuses.
Be lead safety savvy – cable drum extension leads should always be completely unwound to avoid overheating, and be careful not to overload extension leads.
Register your white goods – it could save your life if a product is recalled for safety reasons.
Share your fire safety knowledge with the whole family – check the kids’ chargers, and make sure everyone knows how to use electric blankets safely.
Hair straighteners that were left on and nearly caused a terrible fire.
What about your home’s electrics?

Whether you own or rent your home, it’s important to know the signs of a potential electrical problem. Look out for scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason. These could all be signs of loose or dangerous wiring. If in doubt get them checked by a qualified electrician – you are within your rights to ask this of your landlord if you are a tenant.

Person using the Home Fire Safety Checker on their smartphone.
Check your home’s safe using our simple tool

It only takes a few minutes to check your home and get tailored advice for your family.

Try our Home Fire Safety Checker
Worried about electrical items and fire safety?

We provide free Home Fire Safety Visits where we can share our expertise on fire prevention, and even fit free smoke alarms if you need them.

Did you know?

We have attended 26,376 electrical fires in London since 2017.

Struggling with energy issues?

If you are finding bills hard to pay, please never, ever use BBQs indoors or on balconies to cook or keep warm, and don’t use candles as an alternative heat source. There is a lot of help available if energy costs are getting beyond your budget – Citizens Advice provides lots of info about grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills or you can contact your energy company for advice.

If you would struggle in a power cut, talk to UK Power Networks about the Priority Services Register – a special, private list of customers who need extra help due to factors like mobility issues, vision or hearing impairments, or because they are older or unwell. You can find out more and sign up here. In the event of a powercut, call 105 . It’s free of charge, and they are available with help and advice 24/7.

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