Faulty or misused electricals cause half of house fires

Warnings issued by fire service to mark electrical safety week.

Don’t let electrical failures endanger your life.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has issued the warning after figures showed that half of all house fires were caused by faulty or misued electrical equipment.

Next week it launches its Fire Kills campaign as part of electrical safety week.

According to figures there were 755 fires in Devon and Somerset in 2010, caused by faulty or misued electrical products, and electrical fires in home resulted in nearly 40 deaths across the country.

Fire investigation officer Mike Burroughs, said: “Electrical equipment is an inescapable part of all our lives, from essentials like heating and lights to luxuries like entertainment systems or beauty products.

“Half of all accidental fires begin with an electrical appliance, so it’s really important to be sure that your electrics are in good working order and are used properly.

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“Most electrical fires start in the kitchen, so be extra careful with cooking equipment. A fire in the home can be devastating, but many of these fires are preventable.”

Residents should ensure that plug sockets are not overloaded and regularly check for worn or frayed wires.

Unplug appliances when not in use and keep them in good working order.

A residual current device (RCD) can also be used, which works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires.