Electrical Safety First advises people to check that an older person’s tumble dryer is safe
27 September 2016
This Saturday 1 October marks Older People’s Day. Worryingly, a person over 60 is 10 times more likely to die in a fire than somebody aged 17 to 24[i]. Furthermore, over half of the accidental fire-related deaths last year in Great Britain were people aged 65 and older[ii]. As the autumn chill sets in and days shorten, Electrical Safety First hopes to arm older people as well as their relatives, friends and carers with practical advice ahead of the winter season.
This October, Electrical Safety First is asking people to visit their older relatives, friends and neighbours and to do one simple check: make sure the tumble dryer is safe to use. Last November, Whirlpool issued a safety notice on 4.5 million Creda, Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline and Swan tumble dryers. While Whirlpool has confirmed over 810,000 repairs, this means that many more households, including those of older people, are at risk. Whirlpool has advised that these machines can be used if someone is in attendance, however, the advice from Electrical Safety First is not to use an affected tumble dryer under any circumstance. In August, a Whirlpool tumble dryer fire that ripped through five floors of a building in Shepherds Bush, started when the owner was in the apartment.
On behalf of an older person you know, and with their permission, Electrical Safety First recommends checking if their machine is one of the affected brands. If it is, the Charity recommends taking the following steps (as outlined on electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/tumbledryers): contact the brand to check if the model is affected; if it is organise an engineer’s appointment; finally, and most importantly, unplug the machine and ask the owner not to use the machine until the engineer has modified it. This small step could ensure the safety of an older person you know.
Electrical Safety First is concerned that many elderly people who are not internet savvy or do not have a voicemail service could find it difficult to contact the manufacturer. Many older people could be taking risks with their safety if they are unaware that they are using an affected tumble dryer.
Phil Buckle, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First commented
“Although people have been told by Whirlpool that the affected machines are safe to use, the safety notice has been issued because of a fire risk. In our view using an affected machine is a big risk to take, particularly for older people, who may be less mobile and unable to evacuate their home quickly. The devastating fire in Shepherds Bush shows how quickly a tumble dryer fire can spread. This Older People’s Day, we are asking people to check their elderly friends and family tumble dryers if they haven’t already done so. It might save a life.”
For more information and resources for anybody concerned about their tumble dryer, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/tumbledryers
For more information please contact:
Christina Copp T: 020 3463 5129 E: Christina.firstname.lastname@example.org
Muireann Kirby T: 020 3463 5105 E: Muireann.email@example.com
- Electrical Safety First is a UK Charity dedicated to reducing and preventing damage, injuries and death caused by electricity. For more information and resources for anybody concerned about electrical safety in the home of an older person, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/agesafe
Checking if a tumble dryer is safe:
If so, check the brand’s website to see if the machine is affected:
Creda and Proline customers should visit https://safety.hotpoint.eu
Alternatively call the Freephone hotline number: 0800 151 0905. You will be asked to provide the serial number and model number so the call operator can check. The model and serial numbers are usually located at the back of the dryer door or in the recess of the dryer door.
- If your machine has a safety notice you will need to schedule an engineer visit using the Freephone number above.
- Electrical Safety First advises the owner of any affected machine to stop using it until it has been inspected and declared safe to use by a manufacturer's engineer.
Making sure any tumble dryer is safe:
• Always register a new appliance with the manufacturer. Then you can be contacted easily if a safety recall be required. To register visit RegisterMyAppliance.org.uk.
• Clean out lint and fluff from the filter and around the door after every use.
• Watch out for scorching or burn marks, and check for loose or worn wires.
• Have your dryer serviced annually by a qualified engineer.
• Never overload – take large or bulky items such as duvets to the dry-cleaners.
• Always allow each drying programme, including the "cool down cycle", to complete fully.
• Leave clothes covered in solvents, grease, oils or fats out of tumble dryers.
• Don't leave dryers, dishwashers and washing machines on overnight
[i] http://www.cfoa.org.uk/18152, cited in A Shock to the System, Electrical Safety in an Ageing Society (January 2015)
[ii] Of 220 fatalities in accidental dwelling fires, 119 people who died were 65 years or older, or 54% (Fire Statistics Great Britain: 2013-2014, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fire-statistics-great-britain-2013-to-2014) England, Wales and Scotland, Table 17c: Casualties from accidental dwelling fires by age and cause of death / nature of injury Great Britain 2013/14)