Get 'Home Safe'

27 March 2015

Saturday at 6.30pm - the most dangerous time to be in your home!

  • 80 million accidents take place in UK homes each year
  • Accidents are leading to serious electric shocks, injury and more; with fires causing a billion pounds worth of damage to homes last year
  • Phil Spencer and Electrical Safety First launch ‘Home Safe’, a campaign to reduce the risky behaviours that can have serious consequences

Blundering UK adults have over 80 million home accidents each year[i], each one causing physical injury or property damage, with Saturday at 6:30pm the most dangerous time to be at home.

A study by Electrical Safety First has identified that our risky behaviours are leading to a huge number of accidents, which peak on Saturday evenings when four accidents take place every second[ii]. With support from property expert Phil Spencer, the Charity is launching ‘Home Safe’, a campaign to remind everyone that even the smallest mishap can lead to devastating consequences.

The kitchen was identified as the most dangerous room in the house, but all rooms revealed their hazards – accidents ranged from hair straightener burns and drilling through wires, to even more major concerns, such as gas leaks, burst pipes and kitchen fires[iii]. Over a third of us (33%) admit we’ve burnt ourselves on an electrical item, over half (55%) have injured ourselves while cooking and one in ten (10%) have experienced a fire in the home.

The Charity says this is the result of the increasing number of unnecessary risks we take[iv], which range from overloading sockets to fixing appliances that are still plugged in and using power tools without RCD protection[v]. Over 6 million of us are guilty of taking batteries out of smoke alarms to silence them and 2.5 million have tried to dry objects in the microwave[vi].

The consequences can be serious – electricity alone causes 70 deaths a year and 350,000 serious injuries – and the number of fires has increased by 10% in the last year[vii]. House fires, (a third of which were caused by the misuse of electrical appliances) resulted in almost a billion pounds worth of damage last year[viii] and caused 258 deaths[ix], of which 146 occurred in homes without a working smoke alarm.[x]

Emma Apter, Head of Communications at Electrical Safety First, says:  “Our Home Safe campaign highlights that everyday behaviours are putting people in danger. Not only is it important to use registered tradesmen for gas, electrics and plumbing, to keep your home in good shape, but it is also vital to cut out the smaller risks than can still have devastating consequences. Actions such as removing batteries from smoke alarms, blocking microwave vents and absentminded DIYing can all lead to injury or worse. We are asking everyone to be home safe, for themselves and their families.”

Students were identified as the most at risk group in the home – almost 300,000 students have started fires in the kitchen (the most dangerous room in the home[xi]), although one in five had removed the batteries from their smoke alarms. Mums were the group most likely to have a serious electrical shock but proved better chefs than dads who are most likely to have an accident whilst cooking. Retirees are least at risk on average, however almost a quarter (24%) admit to running over lawn mower cables[xii].

Phil Spencer, star of Location, Location, Location, said: “I’ve helped hundreds of people find their dream homes but have also seen some shocking properties filled to the brim with shoddy electrics, bad plumbing and frightening gas fittings. However, you don’t even need a house of horrors to have an accident; a split second of risky behaviour can turn your dream home into a nightmare. Be home safe by visiting the Electrical Safety First website today.”

Electrical Safety First has created a ‘House of Horrors’ video demonstrating the risks we take around the house. To view the video and for more information about electrical, gas, or water safety in your home, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/homesafe  

Ends

For more information please contact Bec, Rosie or Issy on electricalsafetyfirst@forster.co.uk or call 0207 403 2230.
 

Notes to Editors:

  • Electrical Safety First is the UK charity dedicated to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents. We campaign to improve safety regulation and messages, and provide expert information and advice to the public and professionals to help ensure everyone in the UK can use electricity safely. Visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk for more information
  • All consumer research, unless otherwise stated, was conducted from 20th- 22rd February 2015 by Populus on behalf of Electrical Safety First with a sample of 2,109 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults
  • Electrical Safety First has identified at risk demographics:

 

Group Risky factors
Students
  • Most dangerous day is Wednesday
  • Risk rating –2.96 accidents a year
  • Most likely to:
– start a small fire in the kitchen (12%)– remove the batteries from smoke alarms (21%),– try to dry clothes or other objects in the microwave (13%)– have an accident when drunk (23%)
Young professionals
  • Most dangerous day is Thursday
  • Risk rating –  2.5 accidents a year
  • Most likely to:
– store things on top of microwaves (57%)– least likely to have cleaned behind their fridge/freezer in 6 months (60%)– least likely to check that their electrician is registered (29%)
Mums
  • Most dangerous day is Saturday (14%)
  • Risk rating – 2.3 accidents a year
  • Most likely to:
– have had electric shocks in the home (24%),– drilled through a wire in the wall (10%)– used high powered electrical tools without an RCD (36%)– have an accident while trying to fix something/do DIY (39%)
Dads
  • Most dangerous day is Saturday (10%)
  • Risk rating – 2.31 accidents a year
  • Most likely to:
– burn themselves while cooking (67%)– have an accident while rushing around to get ready (39%)
Retirees
  • Most dangerous day is Sunday/Tuesday (5%)
  • Risk rating – 1 accident a year
  • Most likely to:
– cut through the wire of a lawn mower (24%)– have an accident because they weren’t paying attention/looking where they were going (38%)

 



[i] Based on the UK adult population of 49.8 million. 1.67 accidents each in the past year

[ii] 17% of 83, 166 000 accidents (14,138220 ) take place between 5-8pm. There are 10800 seconds between 5pm-8pm, therefore in a standard year there are 365 days and therefore  3.58 injuries per second

[iii] 17% of adults have burnt themselves on electrical products, like hair straighteneres, 5% have drilled through wires, 6% have experienced a gas leak, 14% have had a pipe burst that has resulted in flooding and 7% of adults have had a fire while cooking

[iv] Based on comparison with Populus survey of 4,098 GB adults between 17th and 24th August 2012, the percentage of  people creating a fire hazard by using the microwave as an additional surface and blocking air vents (33%) has increased to 43% and the percentage blocking air vents by failing to clean behind their fridge/freezer (44%) has increased to 47%

[v] 54% of adults overload sockets, 5% have tried to fix appliances when they were still plugged in and 17% admit to using power tools without RCD protection

[vi] 13% of adults take batteries out of oversensitive smoke alarms, 54% of adults overload sockets and 5% have used microwaves to dry clothes and other objects (5%).

[vii] 212,500 fires were attended to by FRS’s across Great Britain, an increase of 10% on 2013-2013
Source: DCLG Fire Statistics: Great Britain April 2013 to March 2014, p. 4

[viii] CFOA x dclg There were 39,900 dwelling fires between 2013-2014 and the average cost of a house fire is £24,900

Source: DCLG Fire Statistics: Great Britain April 2013 to March 2014, p. 5 -https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/399299/Fire_Statistics_Great_Britain_2013-14.pdf / CFOA position statement - http://www.cfoa.org.uk/11426

[ix] Source: DCLG Fire Statistics: Great Britain April 2013 to March 2014, p. 14

[xi] 63% of accidents take place in the kitchen

[xii] 24% of 65+ admit to running over the lawnmower cable, far exceeding the national average at 16%