Householders are putting their lives at risk by overloading their electrical plug adaptors, according to South Yorkshire firefighters.
According to figures released by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, nearly two thirds of people have no idea of how much electrical extension leads and multi-plug adapters can take.
And up to 63 per cent could be overloading their plug adapters as a result.
Now firefighters, who attended more than 200 electrical fires in 2012, are urging to take more care.
Diane Malpass, from SYFR, said: “It’s frightening how many people don’t realise that they are putting their homes and families at risk by misusing adapters in this way.
“The simple advice is to check what equipment you’re plugging into extension leads and read the labels at the end of each plug to make sure it's not going to cause a blaze.”
Although multi-plug adapters have several sockets, many are not designed to cope with the high power demanded by equipment such as irons and hair straighteners, which use up to 20 amps.
SYFR’s survey of more than 500 people revealed that 17 per cent of people admit to plugging high-powered electrical items into extension leads and 76 per cent do not switch electrical appliances off at the mains at night.
Diane added: “Common sense should tell you that you are putting yourself in real danger if you leave things like heaters, irons and washer dryers plugged in at night.
“Other things like televisions and Sky boxes are safer, but we still recommend switching them off at the plug before bed if it’s easy to do so.”
SYFR has launched a campaign to cut electrical fires, in partnership with the Electrical Safety Council.
top tips are:
- Do not overload sockets: long, strip adapters are safest, but can only take a total of 13 amps.
- Switch off electrical appliances at night and when you leave the house, especially high-powered items like washing machines, heaters and irons.
- Look out for frayed wires and scorch marks around electrical appliances and do not use items that have them.