Electrical safety

How to avoid electrical fires

  • Dont overload socketsAlways check that you use the right fuse to prevent overheating
  • Make sure an electrical appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it
  • Certain appliances, such as washing machines, hairdryers, curling tongues and irons, should have a single plug to themselves, as they are high powered
  • Try to keep to one plug per socket
  • Keep your eyes peeled for signs of dangerous or loose wiring such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuitbreakers that rip for no obvious reasons, or flickering lights
  • Check and replace any old cables and leads, especially if they are hidden from view – behind furniture or under carpets and mats
  • Unplugging appliances helps reduce the risk of fire
  • Unplug appliances when you’re not using them or when you go to bed

Top tip

Keep electrical appliances in good working order in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.


Always ensure that your furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label.

Using an electric blanket

  • Don’t leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring. Store them flat or rolled up instead
  • Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use
  • Try not to buy second-hand blankets and check regularly for wear and tear
  • Test every 2 years by a qualified technician

Portable heaters

  • Try to secure heaters up against a wall to stop them falling over
  • Keep them clear from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes

Top tip

An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload them to reduce the risk of a fire. Appliances use different amounts of power - a television may use a 3amp plug and a vacuum cleaner a 5amp plug, for example.

Know the limit - plugs and sockets