Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
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Tel: 0161 736 5866
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Fires in the home can be caused by faulty electrical appliances, plugs and cables that are old or poorly wired can be a real danger. Just because there's no flame, doesn't mean there's no fire risk. Find out what to check for to ensure your appliances don't put you or your family or housemates at risk from fire.
There are particular danger signs to look out for on all electrical items you have around your home. If you think something needs fixing or changing, do it straight away. You can also access the Electrical Safety Council's Socket Overload Calculator to check if you are overloading your sockets and putting your home at risk of fire.
For plugs and sockets, keep an eye out for the following:
The risks with cables and leads include:
For electrical appliances, you should never:
See 'Electric blankets and heaters - safe use' for more information about using these items safely.
Follow the guidelines below to make sure your electrical items are safe to use.
Electrical appliances, especially ones that run at high speeds and contain motors, like washing machines, should be serviced once a year by a qualified electrician.
Plugs, sockets and cables also need to be used correctly, you should:
The fuse in a plug is a safety device designed to protect the lead rather than the appliance. It is a deliberate weak link in a circuit, which will blow if an electrical appliance or extension lead draws too much current due to either an overload or a fault.
The blown fuse cuts off the electricity to stop the lead and appliance from overheating and causing a fire.
Appliances meeting the relevant product safety standards will always be fitted with a plug, which has a correctly-rated fuse.
If you have to replace a fuse because it has blown, you must check why the fuse has blown correct the fault in the appliance and then replace the fuse with a new fuse of the same rating.
As a rule of thumb, fuses are rated according to the power rating of the appliance.
Plugs for appliances rated up to about 700 watts should have a 3 amp fuse, which is coloured red.
Plugs for appliances rated between about 700 watts and 3000 watts - the maximum rating of a wall socket- should be fitted with a 13 amp fuse, which is coloured brown.
Occasionally older appliances were fitted with 5 amp fuses which are coloured black. These fuses are still available to buy.
If there is an electrical fire, pull the plug out, or switch off the power at the fuse box - if it is safe to do so. Sometimes this can stop the fire immediately.
Never use water on an electrical fire, and don't take any risks with your safety - get out, stay out and call 999.