Strict Embargo: 00:01 Wednesday 22nd November 2017
Research by Electrical Safety First reveals extent of electrical fires in Wales as the charity calls on the Welsh Government to take action
Wales has a problem with fires caused by electricity. Last year, there were 1,248 electrical fires out of a total of 1,719 accidental domestic fires, meaning 58% of fires in Wales were caused by electricity. That represents 6 fires per 10,000 people living in the country. This is higher than in England where Greater Manchester has been identified as the most dangerous place to live, with 5 fires per 10,000 people.
Fires of an electrical origin in Wales resulted in 285 people being killed or injured in 2015-16, that’s an average of 5 people each week. White goods, including ovens, tumble dryers and fridge freezers were the leading cause of electrical-related fatalities and injuries with 178 incidents.
The Welsh Government has agreed to research the underlying causes of why these electrical fires in Wales are occurring, which Electrical Safety First welcomes, but the Welsh Government must 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.
- A focus on protecting older people in Wales.
- A safety campaign for Welsh consumers on fires caused by electricity in Wales.
Robert Jervis-Gibbons, Public Affairs Manager at Electrical Safety First commented:
”Wales has major problems with fires caused by electricity which the charity has raised with the Welsh Government on numerous occasions. We are pleased that research has started by the Government on understanding the exact cause of many of these fires, but the Welsh public need to be informed of the risks now and we need to see the Welsh Government come forward with a proper package of measures to tackle fires caused by electricity across the country.”
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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: email@example.com
- 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.
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.
 StatsWales statistics on incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services. Figures from financial year 2015/16. Accessible at:
 Community Safety Statistics requested from the Welsh Government, July 2017. White goods include domestic fire data for: cookers incl. ovens, microwaves, fridge/freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and spin dryers.