Reminder not to cut corners with electrical safety this Christmas

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people not to cut corners with safety when buying electrical items as Christmas gifts this year.

Anyone shopping through an online marketplace runs the risk of purchasing products that don’t meet safety standards.

DW Fire Prevention Delivery Manager Vikki Thomas said: “Everyone loves a bargain, but cheap sub-standard items that don’t meet the legal requirements for fire safety are dangerous. Across the UK, we have seen far too many homes destroyed by fires that have started in cheap electrical products, and there have even been cases where people have lost their lives. We are therefore urging people to only buy from reputable high street and online retailers.” 

Top tips to remember:

  • Make sure any electrical item has a British or European safety mark when you buy it.
  • Watch for signs of dangerous or loose wiring, such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that often blow, circuit breakers that trip for no obvious reasons, and flickering lights.
  • Always use the manufacturer approved charger for any rechargeable product. If you spot any signs of wear and tear or damage, buy an official replacement charger from a reputable seller.
  • Be careful with any rechargeable device - different USB chargers give different voltages, which can cause the lithium battery to be over-cooked to the point where it explodes.
  • Never leave a device on charge when you’re out of the house or asleep. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging times, and always unplug the charger once it’s finished.
  • If buying an e-bike conversion kit, purchase from a reputable seller and check that it complies with British or European standards. Take particular care if buying from online auction or fulfilment platforms. If you’re buying separate components, you should check that they are compatible.
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms. In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

More about fire safety in the home can be found at 

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