Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Will Sparks Fly in your Home this Halloween?

In just over a week it will be Halloween! Yes really – where on earth has the year gone? It doesn't seem so long ago we were discussing sun cream and BBQ's in the office! Now Halloween is a particularly spooky time of year and the celebration is either something you like or hate (a bit like Marmite!)

Whether you are the type to turn the lights off and hide or embrace the celebration by turning off the lights and lighting up carved out pumpkins, Halloween should be a little fun perhaps with just a touch of jumpiness added!

Hidden surprises

Halloween is also a good time of year to touch upon the hidden dangers of unsafe electrical appliances. You see, rather like Halloween, the element of surprise can make you a little jumpy. However unsafe electrical appliances are very much reality and can cause serious electrical injury or even death – that's quite a sobering thought even by Halloween standards.

The UK's leading electrical safety charity, Electrical Safety First has teamed up with digital agency Code Computerlove who have created a Halloween themed spooky game that highlights the problems that unsafe electrical appliances can create. Complete with spooky music, this is a great game to play which gives you just 30 seconds to find all the electrical dangers in the room.

Is there a killer lurking in your home?

In true Halloween style, the aim of the game is to find the killer in your home before it finds you! From old electrical appliances to electrical items under product recall, this game highlights how an innocent looking kettle could lead to electrical injury or electrical fire if it was being used whilst under a product recall.

With product recalls having on average a 20% success rate, this leaves an awful lot of potentially fatal appliances still in use in peoples homes. Items under product recall can bite back when least expected – not only can the appliance develop serious faults, the results can often cause expensive damage to your home electrics. As electricians in South East London we have unfortunately been to many jobs where fault appliances have caused damage to wiring inside walls not to mention irrepairable damage to sockets, wall paper, and the like.

Many people do not know their product was under a product recall, however there are people who are aware and continue to use the product due to the inconvenience of exchanging it. Never take the risk with an electrical appliance under product recall. It is not worth the danger to you, your loved ones and your home.

What should you do to avoid the lurking killer in your home?

It is a good idea to check that none of your electrical appliances are under product recall. This can be done easily by checking the product recall section on the Electrical Safety First website. All types of products can be affected regardless of price or brand.

Beware of using old electrical items that may not be electrically safe or electrical appliances which have bare wires coming from the plug. Both of these products should not be used.

Should an electrical appliance develop a fault or you suspect it is malfunctioning, unplug it immediately and do not use it. It is all too easy to take a chance on an electrical item but not worth the risk to your life or risk a serious injury.

Have fun this Halloween but don't forget to check your electrical appliances first to avoid any 'real' bumps in the night. :)

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Have you tested your smoke alarm recently?

Once again we find it is Tuesday and for the most of us it is just another day in the office. However, there is one amazing thing you can do today that could save the life of you, your family or a loved one and it will only take seconds out of your day!

Press the button!

You've got it! Yes testing every smoke alarm in your home is imperative to ensure it will work in the event of a real fire. It is only when you need them the most that you will rely on them to keep you safe.

October is a key month to be testing your smoke alarm – this is because many people switch on their heating this month. Households which have electric heaters will be alerted to a problem very quickly with a working smoke alarm – as we found in the office here at Fulcher Edwards this week when we switched on the heating! The dust that had built up in there over the Summer months activated the smoke alarm even though there was no visible problem from the heater. It was good peace of mind to know that we were alerted to a potential problem when otherwise our backs would have been turned!

It is so easy for small items to find their way through the vents of electrical heaters – small children can 'post' tiny objects through the gaps and even general dust – especially if the heater has not been used for some time can cause burning or even fire if the build up is great.

Important information for tenants

If you rent your home, it is now a legal requirement for landlords to supply and fit a working smoke alarm on every floor of your property. This law was enforced on the 1st October 2015 in an effort to reduce the number of tenants injured or killed as a result of house fire after research revealed that tenants in the private housing sector were much more likely to die in a house fire when compared to other housing sectors such as home owners or local authority housing.

Landlords should also supply each of their properties with a working CO detector in houses where appliances which could leak carbon monoxide are located. Such appliances include gas boilers, open fires and any solid fuel appliance such as a log burner.

It still remains the tenants responsibility to ensure the alarms continue to work by testing them regularly – ideally every week.

Testing your smoke alarm effectively

People who don't test their alarm regularly tend to rely on 'near misses' such as burnt toast and smoky ovens. However, for a smoke alarm to be relied on fully, it needs to be tested weekly by pressing the T or Test button which is indicated on the smoke alarm itself. Holding the button in for a couple of seconds will emit a high pitched beep so you know it is working.

If you can't reach your smoke alarm, using the end of a broom handle or other long object will be fine. Try to avoid standing on chairs or other furnishings as this could be dangerous. Always test from ground level.

All smoke alarms whether battery or mains powered need to be tested weekly to ensure they are working correctly.

What should you do if your alarm is not working properly or at all

As fire alarm specialists in South East London, we install and maintain fire alarm systems in homes and businesses in and around London. For the ultimate reliability, it is a good choice to have mains powered smoke alarms fitted in your property. This means you will not be relying on battery power alone to stay protected against house fire.

However any smoke alarm is better than no smoke alarm and most battery alarms now have a life expectancy of up to 10 years.

If you press the test button and the alarm emits no sound you need to take action asap. If your alarm is mains powered, contact a fire alarm specialist or your local electrician who can investigate and put right the problem. Never try to attempt to repair a mains powered smoke alarm yourself.

For battery alarms, it may be that the battery needs replacing. If the fire alarms come as all it one sealed units then the whole fire alarm will need replacing. All in one fire alarm units are now very common as it prevents the batteries from being removed intentionally and not being replaced.