With almost three quarters of fires in Scotland caused by electricity, Alex Rowley MSP has been discussing some key safety tips with Electrical Safety First.
The 21st Century kid has far more electrical ‘gadgets’ than their parents did. But electricity causes over 3,640 fires in Scottish homes – with more than two thirds arising from electrical products. And research by the charity, Electrical Safety First, has found that three in four children have a potential fire hazard in their room.
Electrical Safety First met with Mr Rowley and offered a powerful visual illustration of the silent risks posed by electricity, showing the range of dangers in a child’s bedroom that could endanger the whole family.
Among those highlighted were the risky locations for charging a product – such as leaving a tablet on the pillow, or laptop on a bed – where the heat produced by these devices can’t dissipate and can lead to fire. But the scene also indicated the dangers of other fire risks, such as an overloaded block adaptor or a fake phone charger.
The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP said; “Electrical Safety First’s research found that children have, on average, 10 electrical items in their bedrooms, ranging from fairy lights to laptops – almost 25% more than their parents’ generation had in their rooms when growing up”.
He continued; “It also discovered that over a quarter of all children have used or purchased a cheap, unbranded charger. These increase the chance of a fire, as counterfeits often omit key elements that can affect both the safety and functionality of the device.
“But it’s not just the kids who use a cheap, unbranded charger – the charity also found that 41% of parents admitted to using one! So the whole family needs to understand the dangers of electricity.”
Electrical Safety First’s top tips for keeping the modern family safe include:
- Always charging an electrical device on a hard surface – and not on flammable material such as bedding. And avoid charging electrical devices overnight, when you won’t notice them overheating.
- Don’t drape clothes or towels over these items as they can block vents and cause overheating
- Avoid fake chargers – they can cause serious electric shock, injury or fire.
- Do check sockets, plugs and cables regularly, for signs of damage or scorching
- Don’t overload sockets – you can check using the Charity’s calculator here – or go to www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice/electrical-items/overloading-sockets/
Wayne Mackay, of Electrical Safety First explained; “We offer a range of tools and guides to help keep people safe in their own homes, and, ensuring MSPs can help their constituents understand the need for electrical safety – and the importance of using a properly registered electrician – is a key part of our work. We are also lobbying the Government for a commitment to reduce the number of fires in Scottish homes by 10%, which is particularly important given the number of counterfeit electrical items in the Scottish market.”
Photo shows Alex Rowley viewing the demonstration of safety issues