Friends and neighbours of older people in Northumberland are being asked to look out for any electrical safety hazards in their homes.
With 11 accidental electrical fires a day affecting people aged 65 and over, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) and consumer protection charity Electrical Safety First are calling on people to check on older friends and relatives.
Electrical accidents in the home can pose a more significant risk to older and more vulnerable people. This is often due to old or poor quality housing that contains faulty electrics and appliances.
Last year in England, 3,849 accidental electrical fires were reported in the homes of people aged 65 and over, and 81% of these fires happened in homes where the occupant lived alone.
The kitchen is the most hazardous room in the home for older people, with 81% of accidental electrical fires starting there, nearly three quarters of which were due to the misuse of appliances.
Simple visual checks include:
l Watch out for overloaded plug sockets – many people use four-way bar adaptors.
l Do not store flammable clutter near the electrical intake or on top of microwaves.
l Make sure that any portable heaters are being used safely. They should not be used to dry or heat clothes and should not be left switched on and unattended. Also watch out for trailing cables.
l Check that electric blankets are in good condition and that manufacturers’ instructions are followed.
l Make sure that electrical products have not been subject to a recall or safety notice.