Don’t blow out your summer party with a bang

25 August 2011

Summer party safety!

Celebrity party planner, Liz Brewer and Electrical Safety Council offer tips on how to be the perfect host.

  • More than 40% of us will attend or host a garden party or outdoor celebration this summer
  • But two thirds of hosts (66%) don’t ensure guests are protected from common electrical accidents
  • ESC and party planner to the stars Liz Brewer urge party hosts to protect guests from electrical accidents by using RCDs

MORE than 20 million UK adults* are attending garden parties or outdoor celebrations with friends and family this summer, with many planning their last big celebration this bank holiday weekend.

However, research carried out by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) indicates many party-goers could be at risk of a serious accident from hosts not following simple safety measures.

Working with party planner to the stars, Liz Brewer – author and star of ITV's Ladette to Lady – the ESC has produced a list of Ten Tips for Party Success and Safety to ensure their celebration is both memorable and safe.
In the UK at least one person dies each week from a serious electrical accident in and around the home and over one million** UK adults have attended a garden party where there has been an electrical accident, injury or fire. Many of these could have been prevented by using an RCD (residual current device). The ESC’s key recommendation for party safety is to use this simple, but vital, electrical safety device, which is designed to protect against fatal electric shocks if you touch something live, such as a bare wire.

Elaborate celebrations
The ESC study found that garden parties across the UK this summer are quite extravagant events with the following items now being a common part of the mix. When those who will attend or host a garden party were asked what the party will include:

  • 6% will have a bouncy castle
  • 11% will have a paddling pool / water slide
  • 12% will have live music

Furthermore, 34% will attend or host an outdoor party that includes stereos or speakers outside and 12% where indoor-use lighting is taken outside for the occasion.

Despite these party additions - and increased potential hazard - 32% of all hosts using electrical equipment at their garden party do not give any additional consideration to electrical safety, even though it is outdoors.  And alarmingly two thirds, 66%, of those using electrical equipment don’t ensure guests are adequately protected by using an RCD for all electrical equipment.

Liz Brewer is the author of ‘Liz Brewer’s Ultimate Guide to Party Planning and Etiquette’. Having organised parties for Shirley Bassey, Ivana Trump, Boris Johnson and 10 Downing Street, amongst others, Liz says safety should always be at the top of a host’s priorities.

Liz explains: “Many of us are competing to hold bigger and better summer garden parties but with that comes additional safety risks. Whether your guests are celebrities or your neighbours, it is your duty as host to protect them from serious electrical accidents and fires by using an RCD. All of us want to create a party to remember but you want to ensure that isn’t for all the wrong reasons.”

Safety blunders
Many party hosts are also exposing themselves to unnecessary risk when preparing for their party:

  • 38% tidy up by mowing the lawn or trimming the hedge but do not use RCD protection
  • Just 31% of hosts check plugs and leads for signs of damage before use
  • Just 31% ensure power sockets outdoors are not exposed to wet weather or water hazards

Angela Murphy of the ESC, said: “It’s great that people are being imaginative with their garden parties but electrical safety is still not the priority it needs to be. Using an RCD is a simple safety measure but it is vital, especially when doing anything outdoors, where there is increased risk of electric shock. RCDs offer a level of protection that ordinary fuses or circuit breakers cannot provide. 

Notes to editors:
•    All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2084 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th - 11th August 2011.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
•    *43% of those surveyed have attended or will attend or have hosted or will host a garden party this summer. Based on ONS data that there are 48.08 million adults in the UK, this equates to 20.67 million UK adults.
•    **2.55% of people surveyed have attended a garden party where there has been an electrical accident, injury or fire. Based on ONS data that there are 48.08 million adults in the UK, this equates to 1.23 million UK adults.

For more information please contact Ben Stokes on 020 3463 5129 or at