Electrical fire safety

Electricity is often overlooked as a possible fire hazard. This may be because there is no flame. However, some 28,000 fires in the home are reported each year as being caused by electrical faults, accidents or misuse of electrical equipment.

Are you overloading your electrical sockets?

We really like this calculator from Electrical Safety First. Try plugging in some appliances and find out if you might be putting yourself at risk of fire.

Socket overload calculator

Video - tips to help prevent a fire

Electrical safety tips

  • Don't overload plug sockets  - An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take so, to help reduce the risk of fire, be careful not to overload them.

  • Regularly check for frayed or worn cables and wires - check to see if the cable is fastened securely to the plug and check the socket for scorch marks. You should always carry out these checks before you plug an appliance in.

  • Unplug appliances when not in use - this helps to reduce the risk of fire. Unplug appliances when you go to bed or when you go out unless they are designed to be left on, like fridges and freezers.

  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order - look out for fuses that blow, circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights to prevent them triggering a fire.

  • Check for British or European safety mark - Make sure an appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it.

  • Always check that you use the right fuse to prevent overloading - when you're fitting or replacing a fuse, it's important to use the right fuse for the appliance to make sure the cable doesn't overheat and that the appliance is protected in the event of a fault.

  • In the event of a fire Get Out, Stay Out, Call 999 - never use water on an electrical fire and don't take any risks with your safety. Pull the plug out or switch the power off if it is safe to do so. Get out, stay out and call 999.

  • Charging devices - don't leave devices charging for long periods and make sure that you are using the correct chargers. If you are using laptops, don’t put them on soft furnishings, beds and duvets as this increases the chance of them overheating and catching fire.

Circuit protection reduces the likelihood of an electrical fire occurring. Contact an approved professional for advice on circuit protection or to have your circuit protection checked.

Register your electrical appliances for a safer home

Only 36% of consumers register all of their large domestic appliances.

Register my appliance (opens in new window)

The Register my appliance website is designed to make it quicker and easier for the public to register all of their appliances. It provides up-to-date, accurate, contact information for owners who have acquired specific models of appliances within the last twelve years, so manufacturers can issue you with safety updates or repair notifications whenever necessary. The website provides access to the registration pages of over 40 leading brands of domestic appliances, including most of the UK’s top selling brands of major white goods.

You can also check if any of your electrical goods have been recalled (opens in new window) 

Last updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2023