Every winter, fire brigades across the country attend a number of house fires started by household appliances that were faulty or incorrectly used. To keep your family safe check portable heaters for frayed cords, loose plugs or exposed wires.
Clean dust off elements and ensure that they are securely attached. If any faults are found, either have them inspected and repaired by a licensed electrician or dispose the heater and buy a new one.
Lay electric blankets flat on the bed and check for loose or frayed wiring. Turn them on for at least five minutes to ensure they are working correctly before using. Again, if a fault is detected, have it checked by an electrician or throw the blanket away and buy a new one.
Use them correctly
Even if your appliances are in good working order, it’s important to maintain basic safety rules when using them. These include:
- Never use an electric blanket on a water bed or with a hot water bottle
- Never leave heaters or electric blankets on overnight or while you are not at home.
- Never fold an electric blanket to store it, which can bend or break the wires
- Always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Never put an electric blanket in a washing machine
- Making sure that children and pets are supervised at all times around portable heaters
- Wherever possible, only buy heaters that have a cut-off switch, in case they are knocked over
- Never place anything directly on a heater. Always place clothes airers at least a metre away from a heater.
Protect your family
Even when you inspect and maintain your appliances, there is always the risk of an accident happening. To increase your family’s safety, it is also a good idea to:
- Install good quality smoke alarms in every room, test them regularly and replace the batteries every six months.
- Have an electrician install a safety switch, which will cut the power in a fraction of a second, should someone be electrocuted.