Fire. Such a hot word and yet it can send a shiver of cold down your spine. For fire, when it is not being benign and keeping us warm, is a devastating and dangerous living element which causes destruction and loss of life to anything in its path. It is a worrying thought then to realise that we are living with potentially dangerous equipment in our homes.
As technology moves on, we now no longer have to wash clothes or dishes by hand and we have microwaves to speed up the cooking process, these liberating devices can cause destruction and death if they go wrong.
Around 70 people are killed every year and 350,000 people are injured as a result of a fire caused by electrical appliances. These many be faulty models, or they may be used incorrectly (and figures show that most of the problems are caused by misuse), but in 2012 along almost 8,000 fires were proved to be the result of faults. Whatever the cause, there are some ways you can protect yourself, your family and your home – and here we list the appliances most likely to cause fires.
Ovens – cooking appliances including ovens and microwaves account for the most fires and injuries in the UK. In 2012 they stated almost 12,000 fires which resulted in around 1,500 injuries and most sadly, 10 deaths. There are models with flaws which can cause the fires, but most commonly it is a case of misuse.
Wiring and Plugs – these may seem so simple that they cannot cause problems, but faulty or old wiring and plugs – or too many plugs in a single adaptor – can easily ignite a fire. Statistics show that these combinations were responsible for 3,899 fires in 2012, resulting in 223 injuries and ten loss of life.
Washing Machines and Tumble Driers – a Which? report actually claimed that washing machines and tumble driers are the biggest fire risk of all. They caused 1,083 fires and 80 injuries through 2012. Most of the fires were proven to be the result of faults: sometimes electrical wiring shorts out and causes a fire, or the friction of an incorrectly revolving drum can cause sparks to fly – literally. Lint building up in a drier can cause the airflow to be obstructed and can also cause fire to break out.
Lighting – faulty sockets, poorly installed lights, faulty side light or night lights can all cause electrical fires to break out. Another cause of fire is when light shades can touch the electric light bulb, and the heat can then set fire to the lampshade. Lighting caused 767 fires in 2012, 74 injuries and one death.
Dishwashers – these were the cause of 475 fires and 68 injuries in 2012. Government fire statistics indicated that these were overwhelmingly caused by faulty products as opposed to misuse. This brings home the importance of the advice of the Fire Service that these appliances are not left to run while we go out, just in case a fault develops.
A few common sense rules can minimise the risk of fire in the home. For example, never ever get distracted when cooking. Many fires are caused where people have left things to cook and forgotten – in some cases they have even left the house! Always take the pan off the heat if you are called away by a visitor at the door, or a phone call.
Keep an eye on the news for product recalls. A recent Which? survey showed that 23% of consumers have owned a product which was recalled by the manufacturer and yet 5% of them just carried on using it anyway. Madness! There is a site you can visit called www.RecallUK.com where you can find product information on recent and historic product recalls.
If the worst should happen and you do have a fire, then you will be able to claim on your insurance. If you have any questions as to what you are covered for, please give our friendly team at Westhill Insurance Services a call. We provide insurance for both private and commercial requirements and we pride ourselves on our customer service. Our professional team will not sell you insurance you do not need, and we will be there for you with support, help and advice should you need to claim.