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Preventing electrical fires over Winter

During the colder months, we pull out the electrical heating appliances we have stored away.  Heaters and electric blankets should be checked for damage and faults, and serviced as necessary.  Their leads and wiring may have perished, especially if electric blankets have been folded when stored, instead of rolled up.

Before going to bed, turn off as many electrical appliances as possible, at the powerpoint; Turn off electric blankets and heaters when you’re not at home and before getting into bed.

Avoid overloading powerpoints and powerboards – An overload occurs when you exceed the maximum amperage of the electrical circuit you are using. This can be caused by plugging too many appliances into the one power point or running appliances that draw high amps at the same time. The result of an overload can be a short circuit and quite possibly a fire.  Double adaptors or power boards are fine, providing they are used in moderation.  You might like to consider installing power surge protection for powerpoints. And do not put extension cords under rugs –  they can be a major fire hazard due to being trampled and overheated.

Be very careful when using heating appliances around children.  Drying clothes in front of a fire is a dangerous thing to do, so keep racks at least one metre away from heaters.  Children could knock over a clothes rack onto a heater, or could injure themselves by falling onto a heater. Make sure the clothing your children wear have the highest possible fire rating.  Keep a close eye on children at all times.

Charging smartphones or other electrical devices on soft surfaces such as bedding or your couch can spark a fire – always ensure laptops have a good source of airflow.

Regularly clean the filter in clothes dryers – The lint build-up can catch fire.

The kitchen continues to be a fire-danger spot: Keep tea towels and other items that could catch fire away from the stove top. And if you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off all appliances.

Test that your smoke alarms are working properly, and prepare a fire Evacuation Plan for your family. Stay safe this winter. For more information go to:

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