Strict Embargo: 00:01 Wednesday 22nd November 2017
Research by Electrical Safety First reveals areas most at risk of electrical fires as the charity calls on the government to take immediate action
Last year, there were more electrical fires per 10,000 people in Greater Manchester compared to anywhere else in the country, making it the most dangerous place to live in England according to a new list compiled by Electrical Safety First. There were 1,482 electrical fires out of a total of 2,428 domestic fires, representing 5 fires per 10,000 people living in the county. Those fires resulted in more than 200 fatalities and casualties.
Merseyside and East Sussex were found to be the second and third most risky places to live, with a total of 706 and 411 electrical fires respectively. West Sussex (335) and Lancashire (587) came fourth and fifth on the list with 4 electrical fires by per 10,000 people.
While there was been a general drop in domestic fires, going from 33,279 in 2012-13 to 31,377 in 2015-16, the percentage with an electrical origin has remained around half. Across England there were a total of 18,424 electrical fires in 2015-16. These caused 2,453 fatalities and casualties, that’s an average of 47 each week and 7 a day.
Domestic electrical white goods, such as dishwashers, tumble dryers, and fridge freezers are one of the leading causes of electrical fires in England. Last year, 1,873 fires were caused by white goods, the equivalent of over five fires per day.
Electrical house fires are being caused by misuse of appliances, poor regulation of electrical safety checks, particularly in the private rented sector, faulty appliances and electrical distribution faults. We believe these must be tackled in tandem to make a real impact on the problem.
Electrical Safety First is calling on the government to take action and come forward with a package of measures that will include:
- A target of a 10% reduction in fires of electrical origin over the next five years.
- Introducing mandatory five-yearly electrical checks in the private rented sector.
- Expanding and investing in the Home Office’s Fire Kills campaign to focus more on electricity throughout the year.
Phil Buckle, Chief Executive at Electrical Safety First commented:
“Faulty white goods, a lack of mandatory electrical safety checks in the private rented sector, and misuse of electricity are a toxic mix that is causing hundreds of people to be killed or injured across the country each year. Immediate action is needed by the government to reduce this number. If the government fails to implement these changes then it is likely that we will see further tragedies such as those seen at Grenfell Tower, Shepherd’s Court and Lakanal House.”
You can sign up and support this campaign by visiting www.supportsaferhomes.com
Michelle Harvey from Wrexham experienced the devastating effect of an electrical fire when her faulty dishwasher caught fire in April this year. Thankfully, Michelle was at home at the time and managed to escape with her partner Neil Thomas.
“We were upstairs tidying when we could hear the blinds cracking at the windows downstairs. Neil is very safety conscious - he thought we might have left the windows open and went to check. The next thing he was screaming that there was a fire and to get out. I ran downstairs to see the hallway covered in thick black smoke and flames pouring out the front of the dishwasher door.”
It was five months before the family could move back into their home. There was thousands of pounds worth of damage and every room needed redecorating.
“All of the children’s cuddly toys had to be binned due to smoke damage. I’d kept their swimming certificates and pictures from school in the kitchen cupboard – they’re the sentimental things that can’t be replaced.”
Michelle says the fire serves a serious warning to everyone to check their appliances.
“Our landlord hadn’t bought the machine. It came with the house when they purchased it and was there when we moved in. We had no idea of its history or that it had been recalled. It was an accident waiting to happen and I’m so relieved that we were there when it did and not out or asleep.”
“I worry that there are a lot of other people living with recalled products who haven’t been notified. We are very vigilant now and always register our appliances so we can be notified of any recalls.”
“We are all guilty of it – leaving our machines on while we’re out or going to bed. Now we would never do that and neither would our friends or family. We’ve done everything in our power to protect ourselves from something like this happening again – we’ve even bought an electrical fire extinguisher.”
For advice and safety tips on protecting your home from electrical fires and accidents visit electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/saferhomes, or search #SaferHomes on social media.
For more information please contact:
Sophia Alipour T: 07866 702069 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Electrical Safety First is a UK charity dedicated to reducing and preventing damage, injuries and death caused by electricity. More information can be found at electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk
- Electrical Safety First also has a microsite that advises consumers on white goods safety. People can find expert advice on ways to ensure your white goods are safe, a searchable tool to check if any of your products have been recalled and advice on how to register your appliance. Visit whitegoodsafety.com.
- Electrical Safety First recognises that more densely populated cities are likely to result in a higher number of electrical fires, and by focusing on the number per 10,000 people we have been able to identify areas where people are most at risk.
- Our case study has supplied images of the damage that a dishwasher fire can cause. These images are available for download here.
Electrical Safety First’s Hot Spot List*
|FRS area||Total fires of electrical origin 2015-16||Total domestic fires (Electric/Gas/Other) 2015-16||Electrical fires per 10,000 people||Total fatalities/casualties|
|1) Greater Manchester||1,482||2,428||5.33||242|
|3) East Sussex||411||601||4.91||47|
|4) West Sussex||335||487||3.97||47|
|6) Devon & Somerset||662||968||3.83||126|
|8) Cornwall & Isles of Scilly||208||293||3.74||15|
|10) West Midlands||1,062||1,903||3.71||190|
|11) Bedfordshire & Luton||244||385||3.67||18|
|16) Dorset & Wiltshire||508||788||3.44||50|
|17) Hereford & Worcester||264||378||3.42||29|
|19) Essex County||600||946||3.33||71|
|27) Isle of Wight||43||61||3.08||2|
|28) Tyne and Wear||340||666||3.01||67|
|29) North Yorkshire||244||387||3.00||22|
|31) South Yorkshire||405||736||2.92||70|
|35) West Yorkshire||633||1,228||2.75||120|
|39) Durham & Darlington||140||288||2.23||25|
|44) Royal Berkshire||52||394||0.58||4|
- * FRS areas have been ranked according to the total number of electrical fires per 10,000 of the population. Population sizes from ONS estimates, November 2017.
- Home Office Fire Statistics on incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services. Figures from financial year 2015/16. Accessible at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables#incident-level-datasets
Make your home a #SaferHome
Tips for safer white goods:
- Buy from a reputable dealer/manufacturer and never buy second hand white goods.
- Always register your appliance with the manufacturer so you can be notified if there’s a problem.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you’re concerned about an appliance in your home, use Electrical Safety First’s online product checker to see if it has been recalled.
 All data unless otherwise stated are from Home Office Fire Statistics on incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services. Figures from financial year 2015/16. Accessible at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables#incident-level-datasets
 White good includes domestic fire data for: washing machines, tumble dryers, spin dryers, electric cookers including ovens, dishwashers, fridge/freezers and combined washer/dryers. Only fires caused by faulty appliances and leads and faulty fuel supplies are included.
 1,873 fires is the equivalent of 5.13 fires per day.