Fire safety at home

Electrical fire safety

Make sure your appliances are safe, clean and used correctly without overloading sockets.

It's most important that you:

  • don't overload plug sockets
  • turn off appliances and chargers at the wall before you go to bed
  • have a quick look at appliances to check they're safe

Never overload plug sockets

Remember, no more than 13 amps to a socket.

Know the limit: 5 amps + 5 amps + 3 amps = 13 amps.

Appliances use different amounts of power – for example, a television may use 3&amps and a vacuum cleaner 5 amps. If you are using an adapter be careful not to overload it.

Safe equipment and installation

To avoid electrical fires:

  • always use the right fuse to prevent appliances from overheating
  • make sure your appliances have the British or European safety mark when you buy them
  • make sure you always use a competent and qualified trades person to carry out electrical works
  • think about using a Residual Current Device (RCD), which works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of fires

Older equipment

To avoid electrical fires:

  • check for signs of dangerous or loose wires such as scorch marks, hot plugs and blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers
  • check and replace old and worn cables or leads, especially those hidden behind or under furniture
  • keep appliances clean and in good working order, especially in the kitchen

Charging electrical devices

To avoid electrical fires:

  • never leave devices charging for long periods or overnight
  • always use the charger that came with your phone, tablet, e-cigarette or mobile device – never mix-and-match chargers and devices

Portable heaters

To avoid electrical fires:

  • try to secure portable heaters against the wall so they don't fall over
  • make sure portable heaters are well away from curtains and other furniture
  • never use portable heaters to dry clothes

Electric blankets

To avoid electrical fires:

  • unplug electric blankets before you get into bed
  • check electric blankets regularly for signs of wear or tear
  • get your electric blankets checked by an expert once every 3 years, or as recommended by the manufacturer
  • make sure your electric blankets have the British Standard kitemark and the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board (BEAB) symbol on it

More information

Electrical Safety First provides expert information and advice to help people protect themselves.

Go to Electrical Safety First: overloading sockets for advice on socket safety, including an online socket calculator.