Friday, 11 June 2010

Fire Safety In The Home - Electrical Appliances

I think most people would agree that we take electricity for granted and forget the damage it can cause if not treated with care. Electricity can kill, can give you an electric shock and it can also cause a fire.

Below are some guidance notes on electrical appliance safety that every homeowner should follow to help protect there family and home from a fire:

1) Check your sockets on a regular basis to see if they feel hot and if there are any burn marks. A registered electrician can check for you to see if they need repairing or replacing.

2) Regularly check the flexible cables on all your appliances for damage, such as fraying and general wear and tear. Then check to see that the cable is fastened securely to the plug. If any appliances show any sign of the above then stop using them until they are repaired. Checks should always be carried out before you plug any appliance into a socket.

3) Do you know how old your wiring is? Electrical installations should be checked at least every 10 years in a house and when you move into a new home. Look at it as an MOT for your home the same reason you have your car checked. If you live in rented accommodation, the electrical installation and appliances provided are the landlord’s responsibility. You have the right to ask to see a copy of the certificate or report confirming that the installation meets the UK national standard BS 7671 so you know how safe they are.

4) Check the current rating of an electrical adaptor before you plug appliances into one. Always make sure that the total current used by the appliances are not more than the adaptor’s rating.

5) Turn off any electrical appliances like TVs, computers and hairdryers that you are not using, especially at night as this is when a fire can spread quickly and cause more damage. This also helps you save energy and will help reduce your electricity bill.

6) Always take care when using hand-held electrical appliances and switch them off and unplug them when you have finished using them. This is particularly important if you have items that can get very hot like hair straighteners, hairdryers and curling tongs which, if left on can easily cause a fire by being in contact with any flammable material that they are in contact with.

Things You Shouldn't Do!

1) Don’t use a bulb with a higher wattage than the one printed on the light fitting or lamp shade you are using.

2) Never cover the air vents on fan heaters or storage heaters.

3) Don't overload electrical adaptors by plugging too many appliances in to one socket especially appliances like kettles, heaters and irons as they have a high electrical current. A registered electrician can install extra sockets for you which would be much safer.

4) Never let flexible cables trail under rugs or carpets.

5) Do not dry clothes on electric heaters or place it near curtains or furniture.

Get A Smoke Alarm!

If a fire starts in your home, a smoke alarm will give you the valuable time you need to escape. Its important to check yours regularly as someone is twice as likely to die in a house fire if your smoke alarm does not work. Speak to your local Fire Brigade as they may be able to install one for you free of charge as part of there free home fire risk check.

Remember that elecricity can kill, so you should always follow advice on electrical safety as it could save your life!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Have you got an RCD? If not why not!

A recent survey showed that many people confuse RCD's with circuit breakers, however an RCD offers a lot more protection and can even save your life!

What does an RCD do exactly?

RCD is an abbreviation for residual current device. Should danger arise when using electrical equipment, such as a toaster or a lawn mower, this little device turns the electricity off so that no harm comes to the person using it, such as an electric shock.

Is home really the safest place?

1 in 8 of us are still getting electric shocks in the home and every week someone dies of an electrical accident in the home. Now we all know that electricity kills but we all seem to think that our homes are the exception and that things like an electric shock wont happen to us, but we face electrical dangers everyday unless we protect ourselves correctly. An RCD can protect our family from electrical fires and electric shocks in the home.

What RCD option is best for me?

There are two different types of RCD's that can be installed into your home:

RCD on your fuse box:
A registered electrician or electrical services company like Fulcher Edwards can install a new fuse box for you with RCD's fitted. This option provides you with the highest level of protection as it covers all wiring, sockets and appliances on the circuit.

Plug-in RCD:
This can be plugged into any socket in your home or garden and will protect you should there be a problem with the particular appliance you are using and have used the RCD plug-in device at the time.

Fulcher Edwards would always advise our customers on having an RCD on your fuse box as the level of protection is so much higher than the plug-in RCD as its unlikely you will use these for every appliance in your home. This option would not protect your family all of the time unlike the fuse box option.

To make people more aware of the importance of having an RCD fitted in your home the Electrical Safety Council have launched a campaign called Plug into Safety. Their website in general offers lots of advice on how to make your home safe so we would definitely recommend a read when you have some time.

An RCD can save a life so surely this little device is worth a consideration in your home?