Modern life depends on electricity, yet few people stop to consider the importance of electrical safety in our homes.
Failing to notice things like faulty electrics and appliances, or the overloading of electric sockets can lead to fires, injury and even death.
How to avoid electrical accidents
Electrical accidents are more likely to happen in old or poor quality housing, which are more likely to have faulty electrics and appliances, and insufficient electric sockets.
Electrical Safety First provides expert expert information and advice to professionals and the public to make sure that everyone knows how to use electricity safely. It produces useful guides including ones specifically written for older people and their relatives and tenants.
Use their socket calculator to check you are not overloading your sockets by plugging too many appliances into extension leads.
If you smell burning that cannot be explained, call the fire service immediately. They have equipment to detect electrical objects that are overheating.
Faulty electric blankets are the cause of many deadly fires and injuries every year. As it gets older, an electric blanket may develop faults in its wiring. Older models may lack the overheat protection which is present in newer blankets.
It’s a good idea to have your electric blanket checked every autumn before you start using it. Ask your local fire service if they are offering free checks.
Electrical Safety First has produced a list of dos and don'ts relating to electric blankets.
Electrical safety checks
If you rent your property, your landlord is required by law to ensure the electric appliances and electricity installation (wiring, sockets, fuse box) are safe when you move in and continue to be safe.
If you live in a house of multiple occupation e.g. a bedsit in a larger property, your landlord has a legal responsibility to have the electrics inspected every five years.
Finding a registered electrician
Never attempt to carry out your own electrical repairs. You may be putting yourself and your family at risk.
Registered electricians work to the UK national safety standard (BS 7671) and will give you a safety certificate to confirm that their work has been designed, inspected and tested in line with that standard. They have been authorised by government to self-certify that their work is compliant with Building Regulations.
You can find a registered electrician by searching the Registered Competent Person Electrical register.
Care and Repair Cymru carries out electrical safety checks for older people who are considered to be at risk.