More than 350 house fires were caused by an electrical fault across South Yorkshire in the last three years, new figures reveal.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue released the figures as part of a new safety campaign launched to coincide with Black Friday today in which they are urging members of the public not to buy dodgy electrical equipment – even if they appear to be a cheap deal.
The brigade also highlighted how pets were inside a property which caught fire on more than 75 occasions – to show how it is not just people who are put at risk.
The service has teamed up with prominent figures in the community including Lord Mayor Magid Magid and artist Pete McKee, to produce a video on YouTube raising awareness of the campaign.
Area Manager Steve Helps, head of the joint police and fire community safety department, said: “When you leave the house in a morning, with the washing machine on and various electrical devices on charge, do you ever think about how your dog, or maybe your rabbit, would escape in the event of a fire? How about your fish, or budgie?
“Anybody who has a pet knows that they are part of the family but they are often overlooked when it comes to escaping in an emergency – with fire as a prime example. We know people are busy and don’t want to ask too much, so we’ve pulled out three simple things that people can do to keep their animal friends safer.
“Most of our electrical fires could have been easily prevented and the most common causes are things like leaving electrical appliances (like washing machines and tumble dryers) on overnight and when people are out, as well as overloading plug sockets.
“Buying ‘knock-off’ electrical equipment, which does not meet safety standards is also something we strongly discourage, as it can be prone to malfunctioning and starting fires. A good rule of thumb is that if it sounds too cheap to be true, it probably is.”
The service’s three top tips to safeguard your pets from electrical fires are:-
*Don’t leave appliances on, and devices charging, at night and when you’re out of the house – to eliminate the risk of these malfunctioning and catching fire.
*Buy electrical equipment which is genuine and from trusted sources – ‘knock off’ phone chargers and batteries are prone to setting on fire.
*Don’t overload plug sockets – exceeding the advised current rating (13 amps) can cause them to overheat and catch fire.