Are you in charge?

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is urging residents to think before they charge to avoid the risk of falling victim to an electrical fire.


Picture courtesy of Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service.

Release date: 19 July 2019

The warning from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s firefighters and the Targeted Education Team comes as crews elsewhere in the country (see Staffordshire's example) have been called out to a number of incidents in recent months after electrical items and charging units have caught fire.

Nicki Peddle is West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention. She said: “It might sound like very simple advice, but many of us will have been in that situation where our phone is almost out of battery power and we plug it in to whatever power source we can find.

“You should always use the charger that came with your phone or tablet. If you do need to buy a replacement make sure it is a genuine, branded product with a CE mark, from a supplier you can trust, and that you know is not a fake.

“But it is equally as important that once your device is plugged in and charging that you don’t cover it up. 

“We go into a number schools throughout the year to educate various year groups and have found that there are always hands raised by young people to say they leave phones under their pillows, or charge their phones and tablets all night, and even work with their laptops on quilts and blankets. 

“Placing mobile phones under pillows or putting a laptop on charge on a quilt can lead to the device overheating and even catching fire.

“Try not to leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete either. Good practice would be not to leave mobile phones or tablets plugged in overnight. Not only is this likely to diminish the life of the battery, but it could lead to the risk of fire taking hold. So turn off any electrical appliances that you are not using, unless they are designed to be left on – particularly at night.

"A fire can quickly spread unnoticed and cause more danger.

“Unplug chargers when they are not in use, and don’t overload sockets – plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating.

“And crucially, make sure that you have a working smoke alarm on the ceiling of each level of your property which will result in vital time to exit your property in the event of a fire.”

For more information visit our Electrical and heating appliance safety advice web page

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