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Your home whether it's your first flat or your end up forever house, a place you are doing up or one that you have put all the finishing touches to, should be a comfortable and safe environment.

Appliance misuse is already the top cause of all fires in British homes with millions of people committing everyday safety ’blunders’ without realising the risk of fire. While safety-proofing every aspect of your home is impossible, you can make some simple improvements that will make your home safer for everyone.

We wanted to share Britain's biggest blunders as identified by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) and their top tips to help combat these easily avoidable safety mistakes.

Here's Britain’s biggest blunders, are you one of the guilty? The percentage shown is the proportion of UK public committing these dangerous errors:

  • Creating a fire hazard by using the microwave as an additional surface and blocking air vents (33%)
  • Increasing the risk of serious fire spreading by leaving the tumble dryer running unattended or overnight (9%)
  • Blocking air vents by failing to clean behind the fridge/freezer (44%)
  • Overloading adaptor sockets, causing an unsafe rise in temperature (16%)
  • Leaving an electrical appliance on while unattended, only to be alerted by a burning smell (9%)


Overall, a staggering three quarters of UK adults confessed to committing at least one simple safety blunder or misuse of an electrical appliance.  

Despite an overall decline in house fires, with chip pan fires plummeting by two thirds and fires started through smoking dropping by a third.  Fires caused by misuse of appliances have increased by over a third since 2009, approximately nine out of ten (89%) electrical fires in the home are caused mainly by the misuse of electrical products resulting in 22 deaths and around 2,500 serious injuries annually.  

Here's a useful safety checklist to avoid the most common electrical safety mistakes:

  • Don't overload plug sockets
  • Regularly check for worn or frayed wires
  • Buy electrical chargers from a reputable source
  • Keep appliances clean, in good working order & vents clear
  • Don't use tumble driers whilst in bed at night 
  • Unplug your electric blanket before going to bed
  • Avoid using foreign appliances in UK sockets unless converted for UK use
  • Avoid using faulty or damaged electrical appliances, lighting and sockets. If you think there is a fault with your installation or appliance, stop using it immediately and ask a registered electrician for advice.
  • Carry out a visual check of your electrics every six months.

To learn more about how to protect yourself, your home and your family from house fires you can use the ESC 'calculator' that helps you to check you are not overloading sockets. Download a free smartphone app that guides you through simple visual checks of the electrics in your home.

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