ESC urges street-party safety - for a bash with the right kind of bang

20 April 2011

Enjoy a safe street party!

In the lead-up to the Royal Wedding the Electrical Safety Council (ESC)  is advising street party organisers to use a simple – but vital - electrical safety device called an RCD (residual current device) to ensure  their parties don’t go off with an unwanted bang - and communities are safe from electrical accidents.

An RCD is a life-saving device which is designed to protect you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live. RCD protection is particularly important when using mains-powered electrical equipment outdoors, where there is increased risk of electric shock; and they offer a level of additional protection that ordinary fuses or circuit breakers cannot provide.

An estimated 4,000 applications for street parties in England and Wales have been made, with around two million people throughout the country planning to take part in them to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

 “The ESC is concerned that many unsuspecting revellers could put themselves and others in danger if they don’t take a basic safety measure by ensuring they have RCD protection”, explains Phil Buckle, Director General of the ESC. “Risks from using mains-powered tools to put up street party decorations, run lighting or sound systems with trailing cables - combined with free-flowing drinks and crowds -  can combine to pose a significant safety risk. We are urging party organisers to check that their street parties have RCD protection and to go to our website for more advice on using electrical equipment outdoors.”

The ESC recommends you check your consumer unit (or fusebox) to ensure you have RCD protection  – particularly in those sockets you use for outside activities, such as gardening or entertaining. If you don’t have RCD protection, as a temporary measure, you can pick up a plug-in RCD for around £10 from a DIY or garden centre. 
Figures derived from government data show about 70 people a year die from electrical accidents in and around UK homes.  Many of these accidents could have been prevented by an RCD.
The ESC is running the Plug into Safety Campaign to promote awareness and use of RCDs. For more information, go to

For more information please contact