County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Fire Kills and the Electrical Safety Council are supporting Electrical Fire Safety Week.
Figures show in house fires caused by electrical faults or appliances in 2009 and 2010, 27% started in the kitchen.
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service are offering the following advice:
We all know that water and electricity make a lethal combination. So it's important that fixed electrical equipment is installed correctly, and that you use appliances in your kitchen with care.
- To avoid water coming into contact with electricity, make sure that your sockets or switches are fitted at a safe distance (at least 30 centimetres horizontally) from the sink.
- If appliances such as fridges, dishwashers and washing machines are fitted under worktops, getting to sockets may be difficult. Ideally, these appliances should be controlled by a switched fuse-connection unit mounted above the worktop where you can reach it easily.
- If a socket in the kitchen, or anywhere else in the house is likely to be used to supply portable equipment outdoors, it should have an RCD fitted. Under the national safety standard, all sockets in new electric installations and any new sockets added to an existing installation must have RCD protection.
- Take special care when using electrical appliances in the kitchen - the mixture of water, hot surfaces, flexes and electricity can be very dangerous. Check that flexible leads and appliances such as kettles and toasters are in good condition.
- Use any electrical equipment or switches with wet hands;
- Wrap flexible cables around any equipment when it is still warm;
- Clean an appliance such as a kettle while it is still plugged in;
- Try to get toast that is stuck out of a toaster while it is plugged in, and especially not with a metal knife - there are often live parts inside; or
- Fill a kettle or a steam iron while it is plugged in.