How to avoid an electrical fire.
When looking at how to avoid an electrical fire, there’s many important factors to consider. This article takes a look at some of the best precautionary measures and also what to do in the event of an electrical fire. All countries, states and local authorities may recommend different, but for the purposes of this blog post all information is written for people living in the United Kingdom.
If you’re having any electrical installation within your home or workplace you should always have it checked by a registered electrician. Your property should also have an in date EICR (Electrical Inspection Certification Report) This should be carried out if you’re to move homes, or every ten years that you live or work within the property. This will be different for privately rented properties as it is highly advised that for every five years or every change of tenant, electrical tests are carried out to ensure safety is still the highest priority.
The EICR will pick up any faults with your electrical installation and the wiring behind your sockets. It is extremely important you appoint a qualified, insured and reliable electrician to carry out this work.
If you have recently or are currently having a new fusebox fitted, an RCD (Residual Current Device) will be the safest product to have installed. This will automatically cut off the electricity within the building if a fault is detected. Installing this device can save lives if there was ever a fault with the system. It will prevent anyone receiving an electrical shock or could prevent an electrical fire.
The biggest preventions of electrical fires are to not overload products like extensions leads or your standard socket. Plugging in to many appliances with a very high electrical current such as kitchen appliances to an extension lead can potentially over heat and spark a fire.
To prevent an electrical fire from spreading you should NEVER store any combustible materials near any main electrical appliances. We would strongly advise to take more precaution if your fusebox is under the stairs as if an electrical fire was to break out, it would spread quickly due to where it is situated in the house. This could potentially block off the stairs preventing anyone above from escaping.
Before using any electrical appliances that may have a plug connected via a flex, it is essential that you do a quick check of the cable and just make sure that the plug head is securely together. We understand that sometimes this will seem unnecessary however, it is so important to anyone’s safety and could prevent a fire. Checking a socket is as important as checking the plug and flex. If you see any burn marks or damage to the socket, we would highly advice for you to get a registered electrician to test the product. We are not saying to check your sockets every time you use them but regular checks are essential for your safety.
One of the biggest causes of an electrical fire is appliances that get very hot. Appliances such as: hair dryers, electrical heaters and hair straighteners. These appliances require a high electrical current to produce heat. This is why it is so important they’re used safely, and the correct current is given to the product. In past experience we have seen cable completely burnt and essentially melting due to the current being used by the heater. The heater needed more current than the cable could withstand resulting in melting the cable. This could have caused an electrical fire if it hadn’t of been noticed. When using hair straighteners and hair dryers once finished with, you SHOULD always make sure to place on a heat resistance mat or surface and to unplug them.
What we do if a fire breaks out.
In the event of a fire you’d think that the first thing anyone would do is to run and to get as far away from the fire as possible. Forget your belongings, forget your bags and just save yourself. HOWEVER, this isn’t the case. Us humans like to grab our belongings, make sure we have our coat and then remove ourselves from the fire. This is one of the biggest causes of fatalities as we just don’t react fast enough or understand how dangerous a fire is. Click here to watch a short video on how fast a fire can spread.
Its night time and you’re sleeping comfortably. You hear the smoke alarm sound. What do you do? You rush downstairs to be greeted by half your kitchen up in flames and smoke rushing towards you. You would assume many people would simply remove themselves from the property and call for help. This isn’t always the case. A high percentage will take themselves back upstairs to grab belongings such as a laptop or jewellery. If you had watched the video linked, you would have seen 45 seconds in, the whole room was filled with smoke. Three breaths are enough to end a life. By the time you have gone upstairs and back down your exit would have been blocked and toxic smoke will be entering your lungs.
To prevent a fire is essential to your safety. However, removing yourself from a fire is crucial. Making that decision to ignore your belongings but escape is essential. reacting fast will save your life.
For further reading take a read of the top 10 electrical safety tips.
About National Fire;
National Fire are a group of fire safety consultants specialising in fire warden training, fire risk assessments and fire consultancy. We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of training and service with bespoke courses and extensive multi industry knowledge.