Castles & Coasts highlight electrical fire safety during national campaign

Did you know that over half of all accidental house fires are caused by electricity, or that nine out of ten electrical fires are caused by electrical products?

That’s why we're supporting Electrical Fire Safety Week, which starts today, and reminding residents to stay safe.

The annual campaign is run by the organisation Electrical Safety First, working closely with the Government's Fire Kills campaign and fire & rescue services across the UK. It aims to raise awareness of electrical fire risks and the simple steps that people can take to avoid a devastating fire in their homes.

James Allen, Compliance Manager at Castles & Coasts, said: “The safety of customers is a key priority for us. We've recently completed the replacement of 275 fire doors and made repairs to more than 100 existing door sets, across 13 of our independent living schemes in Cumbria and the North East. We have further works planned to replace and repair fire doors as needed.

“We know there's been a notable increase in fires relating to lithium batteries this year, and some have sadly been fatal. These batteries are found in cars, e-bikes, e-scooters, mobility scooters, laptops, phones and e-cigarettes to name but a few, and there's lots of advice around to help you charge them safely. With Christmas around the corner and all of those extra decorative lights being put up, there are also lots of easy steps residents can take to stay safe, and this campaign highlights those too.” 

Below are just a few electrical safety tips to help keep you safe:

  • Don’t leave lithium batteries to charge unattended, don’t put them in the way of exits or in hallways, and unplug chargers when the batteries are at full capacity. You’ll find more on lithium battery safety here.
  • Don't leave devices charging for long periods and make sure that you are using the correct chargers. If you are using laptops, don’t put them on soft furnishings, beds or duvets as this increases the chance of them overheating and catching fire.
  • Christmas lights – always read and follow the manufacturers' instructions and check your lights are not damaged or broken before use. Click herefor more festive electrical safety tips.
  • Don't overload plug sockets. An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so to help reduce the risk of fire be careful not to overload them.
  • Regularly check for frayed or worn cables/wires and check to see if the cable is fastened securely to the plug. You should always do this before you plug an appliance in and do not use any electrical device that’s damaged.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use. Not only will this help reduce your energy use, but it helps to reduce the risk of fire. Unplug appliances when you go to bed or when you go out unless they are designed to be left on, like fridges and freezers.
  • Always make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them.
  • 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 somewhere in your home.

James continued: “We engage with residents to promote and improve fire safety and the security of our properties, and carry out electrical safety checks in residents’ homes every five years. These are important to highlight any potential electrical safety issues, as well as being a legal requirement.

“It’s really important to know the signs of a potential electrical problem. If in doubt, CCHA residents should contact us straight away on 0800 085 1171 so that we can have issues checked by a qualified electrician.”

You can find more hints and tips on electrical safety on the Electrical Safety First website by clicking here.