FAULTY or misused electrical items started 400 fires in South Yorkshire last year, according to new figures.
Today, as part of Electrical Fire Safety Week, firefighters are reminding residents that electrical items with suspect wiring or plugs in particular can be fire hazards.
They are also urging people not to overload sockets over the winter, when more people use electric blankets and heaters to keep warm.
Last year 113 fires linked to electrical items broke out over the winter months.
Diane Malpass, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services’s head of community safety, said: “Electrical equipment is an inescapable part of all our lives, from essentials like heating and lights to luxuries like entertainment systems or beauty products.
“But half of all accidental fires begin with an electrical appliance, so it’s really important to be sure your electrics are in good working order and are used properly.
“Most electrical fires start in the kitchen, so be extra careful with cooking equipment. Fire in the home can be devastating, but many such fires are preventable.
“By following some simple steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire.
“Don’t overload plug sockets, do check regularly for worn or frayed wires, do unplug appliances when not in use, do keep appliances clean and in good working order, and do consider using a Residual Current Device, which works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of fires.
“The Electrical Safety Council advises that heaters should be kept clear from curtains and furniture and should never be used for drying clothes, while electric blankets should be unplugged before you go to bed, unless they have a thermostat for safe all-night use.”
n For more information on staying safe at home this winter log on to www.syfire.gov.uk or www.facebook.com/southyorkshirefire