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24/1/2012 - Electrical Fire Safety Week warning

Cumbrians are being urged to be aware of the dangers of electrical fires as part of a national safety campaign.

This week (January 23 to January 29) is Electrical Fire Safety Week so to mark the event, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is issuing a warning to help minimise the risks of electrical fires.

From faulty fridges and ignored irons to dodgy plugs and wiring, electrical equipment is an often overlooked fire hazard in the home. Faulty or misused electrical equipment is one of the biggest causes of accidental house fires in the country.

Carlisle Station Manager George Sansom, said: "Electrical equipment is a necessary part of our everyday lives, from essentials like heating and lighting to more hi-tech items like entertainment systems and computers, therefore it is important to be sure that electrical equipment is in good working order and is operated properly.

"Appliances, plugs and cables that are old, or poorly wired, can be a danger. Try and look out for the warning signs - hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that continually blow, a burning smell coming from the appliance or wiring, flickering lights - all these are signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems".

"The truth is most fires are preventable. It's so easy to think it's not going to happen to you, but people really can't afford to be complacent where electrical safety is concerned. By following some simple steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire."

* Don't overload plug sockets.
* Regularly check for worn or frayed wires.
* Ideally, get electrical appliances that run at high speed or contain motors, like washing machines, serviced annually by a qualified electrician.
* Don't leave washing machines, dishwashers or tumble dryers on overnight or while you are out
* Unplug appliances when not in use.
* Consider using an RCD (Residual Current Device) which works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires.
* If using an electric blanket ensure you switch it off and unplug it before you go to bed unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use.
* Keep heaters clear of curtains and furniture and do not use them to dry clothes.
* Make sure you have a functioning smoke detector on each level of your home and test the detectors weekly.

To get a free Home Fire Safety Check from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service call 0800 358 4777 or visit

Media enquiries to communications adviser John Ballard on 01228 221752