In the early hours of Tuesday 13th February 2018, a fire started in the oven at a house in Ashton-in-Makerfield, which is reported to have started either due to a fault or to having been left turned on during the night. Residents of the house managed to escape their home, and luckily two neighbouring properties were unharmed.
This adds to another story from last week, whereby a lady from the Wigan area managed to escape from her home in the early hours of the morning as fire engulfed her bathroom, caused by an electric heater being left on overnight. Three fire-fighters managed to tackle the blaze which caused considerably severe damage to her home.
The lady thought she had turned off her heater before going to bed and was very lucky to escape without serious injuries, although she had inhaled a large quantity of smoke.
Unfortunately, in both cases, the victims did not have a smoke alarm insitu to alert them to the danger.
It’s public knowledge that the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower on 14th June 2017, which killed 71 people and injured over 70 others, was caused by a faulty Hotpoint fridge freezer. In addition, and more recently in the news, it has been reported that thousands of defective tumble dryers could still be in use due to an inadequate response to a defect by Whirlpool.
When reading stories like this, it can get you thinking hard about whether the appliances in your home are safe and it’s very important to stress the risks associated with household appliances.
Here are some helpful tips to consider:
1. Keep your appliances clean, ensuring the air vents are free from blockage in order to reduce the risk of overheating. In particular, ensure your tumble dryer lint vents are emptied after every drying session, and also look to eradicate any excess grease on or around your cooking appliances, such as ovens.
2. Ensure that you only run your appliances when you are at home so that you can keep an eye on them at all times.
3. Keep any electric heaters in your home uncovered and keep them away from soft furnishings.
4. Don’t overload your plug sockets.
5. Keep up to date with the news and pay particular attention to any product recalls and additional advice given to help prevent serious injury.
6. Look out for warning signs. Are there any burn marks or loose wires around your plug sockets? Also, look out for any unexplained sparks which may be seen when turning on an appliance.
7. Please ensure that you have fully functioning are alarms fitted in your home to alert you to a potential fire. It is essential that you check, on a regular basis, that your smoke alarms are working correctly. Don’t forget that your local fire service carry out safety checks for free, and you may even be eligible for free smoke alarms to be fitted where necessary.
8. Most importantly, make sure you have an escape route plan in case a fire does occur. Ensure that you can exit your property safely and without any problems, without the need to pass any electrical items on your way out.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
By Jessica Booth, graduate paralegal in the personal injury department