West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is urging people to take extra care as they head online to snap up Black Friday bargains.
With nearly two thirds of fires in West Midlands homes linked to electrical equipment, WMFS is urging consumers only to buy from legitimate and reputable sellers.
The warning comes in Electrical Fire Safety Week, in which the organisation Electrical Safety First joins forces with the Home Office to promote safety in the home.
Partnership Support Officer, Julie Winpenny, from our Community Safety team said: “The pandemic means that more people than ever are expected to head online to do their Christmas shopping or to bag a Black Friday bargain. We’re urging shoppers to be extra vigilant when buying electrical items, to avoid a potentially dangerous Christmas.
“Over the last three years, we’ve seen an almost 20 per cent increase in casualties linked to electrical fires. With more people at home during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we all ‘think electrical fire safety’.
“Faults in wiring or devices make electrical fires one of the top three suspected causes of fires at home. If you’re working from home, avoid overloading plug sockets and only use the correct charging units for your devices. Never leave laptops or mobile phones charging overnight.”
Many people are reaching for the Christmas decorations earlier than usual this year, to bring some festive cheer to 2020.
Julie added: “Before you plug in your Christmas lights, be sure to give them a thorough check for any signs of damage. If you’re lighting up the outside of your home, only use lights designed for that purpose. And always remember to switch your Christmas lights off if you go out and when you go to bed.”
More tips to help you put electrical safety first:
- never leave items charging under pillows or on/in your bed
- in a microwave only use containers, plates and bowls that are certified for microwave use
- regularly check electric blankets for wear and tear – for example, frayed wires – and don’t use them if you spot damage
- ensure that large kitchen appliances such as fridges and freezers have adequate ventilation space and use correct wiring and venting pipes (where appropriate)
- register your electrical goods! This helps manufacturers to contact you if a product is faulty or dangerous. You can find popular brands and their registration pages on our Register Products page.
Please visit our electrical safety page for more advice.