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  1. ITV Report

More than half of all fires in homes are caused by electrical items. How can we reduce them?

Shocking statistics on the number of people injured or killed by electrical fires

They are the items in your home that make domestic life so much simpler - washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers.

But they can also be the cause of the most devastating of fires.

In fact, more than half of all fires in the home are caused by electrical items.

The damage to Michelle Harvey's home after the fire

Michelle Harvey's old dishwasher was responsible for a fire which devastated her home.

The cause was a simple electrical fault.

The fire broke out in the kitchen, before spreading through the rest of the house.

Further damage to the house

Michelle and her family were uninjured, but had to stay away from their home for months.

White goods - from ovens and tumble driers - were responsible for 285 cases of people being injured or even killed in Wales in 2015.

In 2016, there there were 1,934 electrical fires out of a total of 3,310 accidental domestic fires.

Robert Jervis-Gibbons, from Electrical Safety First, told ITV News a large-scale public safety campaign should be launched.

We need the Welsh Government to come forward with an action plan to communicate that electricity can cause fires in their home, and we need to prevent that.

Simple measures can to teach people to switch electrical items off at night.

– Robert Jervis-Gibbons,

The Welsh Government says tackling electrical fires remains a priority.

Tips on how to stay safe (via Electrical Safety First)

  • Consider fitting your fusebox with an RCD (Residual Current Device). It’s a life-saving device that switches the electricity off automatically if there is a fault. You can also buy plug-in RCDs for use in individual sockets.
  • Have the electrical installation in your home checked by a registered electrician. Homeowners should have this done every ten years, or when you move house.
  • Don’t store combustible materials (clothes, papers, cleaning materials etc.) close to your service head (cutout fuse), electricity meter or fusebox, particularly if these are under the stairs (a means of escape from upper levels in an emergency).
  • Don’t overload electrical adaptors by plugging too many appliances into one socket, especially those with a high electrical current rating such as kettles, irons and heaters.
  • If you are using a portable heater to keep warm, keep it away from flammable materials like papers, curtains and furniture and never use one to dry your clothes.
  • Turn off any electrical appliances that you are not using, particularly at night, when a fire can quickly spread unnoticed and cause more danger and damage.
  • Before plugging your appliances in for use, check flexible cables for damage, wear and tear, and that the plug is fastened securely to the cable. Don’t use the appliance unless it and its cable are in good condition.
  • Hand-held electrical appliances, such as hair dryers and straighteners, get very hot in normal use. Make sure that when you have finished using them, you switch them off, unplug them and put them away, preferably storing hair straighteners and similar beauty products in heat-proof pouches.