Light bulb safety warning from firefighters

Firefighters are urging Cheshire residents to make sure they use the correct light bulbs for their fixtures and fittings following an incident in Handforth in which a lady suffered mild burns.

A 20 watt energy saving bulb had been used in an 11 watt rated paper and wire lightshade at a property in Spath Lane, Handforth.  This caused a fire which was investigated by firefighters from Macclesfield and Poynton on the evening of 15th July.  Unfortunately, the lady in the property suffered mild burns to her head as a result.

The Service’s head of Prevention and Protection, Keith Brooks, said: “Using light bulbs of a higher wattage than the light fixture or fitting recommends could cause overheating.  This, in turn, can lead to an electrical fire. 

“There should be a sticker on light fittings and fixtures which specifies the maximum light bulb wattage acceptable.  You can use a bulb with a lower wattage than specified but using a higher wattage is dangerous."

Most people are used to choosing a bulb by its wattage but the wattage is a measure of the power consumption of the bulb, not a measure of light brightness. The higher the wattage the higher the heat that is created from the bulb. The measure for how much light is given out is lumens (lm), and all packaging should now indicate brightness in lumens. 

Old-fashioned light bulbs were withdrawn from sale in September 2012 so everyone now has to buy energy saving light bulbs.  There are several different types of energy saving bulbs; please read the packaging carefully to make sure you have the right bulbs for your fixtures and fittings.

For peace of mind follow our light bulb safety advice:

  • Use a bulb of the correct type and wattage - if you do not know the correct wattage, contact the manufacturer of the lamp or fixture.

  • Read and follow light bulb manufacturers’ safety instructions

  • Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely - loose bulbs may overheat

For media information please call Sarah on 01606 868451 or email

Date published: Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:11:14 GMT

Last updated: Thursday 17 July 2014