COVEN thought we had better bring to your attention that it is Electrical Fire Safety Week (23 – 29 January 2012). We feel it is important as COVEN are aware that some homes in our area have faulty electrics as we have helped several residents report the problem to LCC environmental health who have in turn forced the landlord to take action and repair faulty and dangerous sockets.
In 2011, 22% of all fires in West Yorkshire were traced back to being an electrical fault, for example an overloaded socket or defective equipment. COVEN can see nothing on East North East Homes website informing tenants of this campaign, nor were we told of it by our local fire stations or fire fighters. This is worrying, as if West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue are going to be as good as their word and improve targeting of fire safety initiatives to enable the number of fires to reduce and hence justify the closing of our two local fire stations, we would have thought they would have spread the word far and wide throughout Burmantofts and Richmond Hill about Electrical Fire Safety Week. Seems they are very good at making people aware of smoke alarms as a method of fire safety – they will alert you to a fire once it has started BUT they aren’t too keen on stopping them in the first place!
Which reminds us............ if you have a smoke alarm that has been fitted by the fire service we have had many reports of the batteries expiring well before their due date! COVEN would like to bring it to your attention that at a meeting of the fire authority community safety committee (Nov 4th 2011) on which Cllr Ron Grahame sits, it was decided that smoke alarm batteries would no longer be fitted as of right but call centre staff would undertake a verbal risk assessment to see if the caller was eligible for a home visit or be told they should replace the batteries and / or detector themselves.
It will be interesting to see how this develops but we don’t think it’s going to be difficult to guess – more people injured in house fires because of un maintained smoke detectors. Factor in that when the stations at Gipton and Stanks close instead of a fire engine reaching our area in 5 mins 41 seconds it will arrive in 7 minutes. COVEN think as do many of our local fire fighters that 1 minute 20 seconds can make the difference between life and death.
So please follow the guidance below to ensure you, your home and family are safe.
• Don’t overload sockets and try to keep to one plug per socket
• Switch off and unplug appliances when not in use, such as kettles, washing machines, tumble
dryers and microwaves
• Always check you use the right fuse to prevent overheating
• Do not store combustible materials in or around areas of the incoming mains supply or near
fuse boxes, in ovens or on top of gas hobs
• Check and replace old or frayed cables
• Consider using a residual current device (RCD), which protects against electric shocks and
reduces the risk of electrical fires
• Keep all electrical appliances clean, dust free and in good working order
• Keep heaters away from curtains, furniture and NEVER use them for drying clothes
• Electric blankets should be unplugged before going to bed, unless they have a thermostat for
safe all-night use.