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Electrical safety

Make sure your washing doesn't hang you out to dry

If you use your tumble dryer overnight or know somebody who does – take note now. A build-up of fluff in tumble dryer filters has been known to contribute to fires involving these appliances, and for this reason, it is a good idea not to leave washing drying while you are sleeping or out of the house, as you will have less chance of catching the fire early and calling 999.

For this reason, we would always recommend that you clean tumble dryer filters regularly.

Can you recall the last time you checked the recall list?

Did you know that details of faulty appliances are added to recall lists by manufacturers? This is so that consumers can find out if their household appliances are in need of testing or replacement, but if there's no record of you owning a product, how are you going to find out this vital information?

The answer? Register My Appliance.

The name speaks for itself, and in just a few minutes, you can make sure that you don't miss out on any updates from manufacturers, particularly those about fire safety and associated risks. It's also important to register your details this way if you buy something second-hand, otherwise, any recall notices will go to who is believed to be the original owner. So what are you waiting for, register your appliance now!.

Top electrical safety tips

  • Never overload sockets
  • Look out for frayed cables and wires and never use electrical goods with exposed wires
  • Never charge a mobile phone or other devices overnight underneath pillows, and instead make sure they are on a solid surface
  • Switch off all appliances when they are not being used, and before going to bed
  • Do not run cables underneath carpets or rugs
  • Make sure that all products you purchase have a British or European safety mark

A warning on why lithium batteries catch fire

With many products found in the home now being battery operated, we want to highlight the safe use, charging, and disposal of batteries.

Lithium batteries are compact, lightweight batteries that hold a considerable charge and fare well under constant discharge-recharge conditions. These types of batteries are found everywhere: Mobile phones, cameras, laptops and computers, electronic cigarettes, and electric cars. Although accidents are rare, those that do occur may be significant, resulting in a fire or even an explosion. If a battery is going to catch fire, the likely cause is thermal runaway. This is when a battery experiences an increase in temperature that eventually leads to cell short-circuiting or disintegration that can spark a fire. The temperature can quickly reach 500C (932F), at which point the cell catches fire, or it explodes.

The risk of fire or explosion increases if the battery is exposed to hot conditions or the battery or internal component is compromised. You can lessen the risk of an accident in several ways:

  • Avoid storing at high temperatures: Don't keep batteries in hot vehicles, don’t allow a blanket to cover your laptop, and don’t keep your cell phone in a warm pocket
  • Keep the battery and device away from sun exposure and store them in a cool place at a partial charge
  • Use the correct manufacturer's charger
  • Do not place phones or electronic cigarettes under pillows or blankets whilst charging
  • Avoid keeping all your items containing lithium-ion batteries together - although having lithium-ion batteries in close proximity does not increase the risk of a fire, if there is an accident, the other batteries can catch fire and make the situation worse
  • Avoid overcharging your batteries

We want to ensure that all batteries are being disposed of appropriately. When crews carry out Safe and Well Visits, we ensure that they do not place batteries from old smoke alarms in the occupier’s bin. They should be left with the occupier who should be informed that disposal of batteries should be carried out in accordance with local council guidelines.

You can find out more about the dangers of Zombie Batteries by visiting the take charge website.

Electric blankets

Store electric blankets flat, rolled up, or loosely folded to prevent damaging the internal wiring. Unplug blankets before you get into bed unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use. Never use an electric blanket if you have an airflow pressure relief mattress, or use emollient creams.

  • Do not fold your electric blanket because this can damage the internal wiring
  • Do not use moth-proofing chemicals
  • Do not place heavy items on top of the blankets while it is being stored
  • Let the blanket cool down before storing
  • Loosely roll the blanket and store it in a cool, dry place
  • Look out for frayed fabric or wiring and replace it if the blanket is old or worn

Helping to Prevent Electrical Fires in the Home, Office, and Place of Work

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service regularly attends fires in the home, office, and workplace. These fires are often investigated, and frequently the cause of the fire is related to “daisy chaining”.

What is “daisy chaining”?

This is the term used to describe the dangerous practice of plugging in and connecting multiple extension leads and multi-way adaptors into a mains power socket. “Daisy chaining” can come in various forms, but usually it is the connecting of multiple multi-way adaptors into each other, in order to be able to plug in multiple devices or it is the practice of connecting multiple extensions leads and reels together, this can create a serious fire hazard.

Why is “daisy chaining” dangerous?

When you plug multiple multi-way adaptors, extension leads, and extension cables into one another, from one mains socket, you are creating a fire hazard. The increased electrical demand on your home's system can harm the electrical wiring and power outlets/mains sockets in your home by causing an overload.

Socket Calculator

Try this socket calculator to see how safe your extension lead practices are Socket Overload Calculator

Our safety tips to help you be safer

Always ensure you have working smoke detectors on each floor of your home or workplace.

Never plug an extension lead into another.

Always check the amperage of your extension lead – this should be on a label or embossed onto the extension lead – For example 13A means, it is regulated to 13 Amps and you MUST NOT exceed whatever amp rating is displayed!

Make sure you know the amps of the electrical items you are plugging into an extension lead – always remember there is a limit and this can be overloaded.

Items such as heaters, hair dryers and irons have high amperage and can easily overload an extension lead.

Do not run extension cables under carpets or where they can be trodden on.


If in doubt, consult a qualified electrician.