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Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service issues safety advice during Electrical Fire Safety Week

More than 40% of respondents in the South East will use, or are considering using an electric heater to warm their homes as concerns about central heating costs grow

Person warming hands up next to portable heater

During Electrical Fire Safety Week (14-20 November), fire prevention teams from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) have issued important advice as the number of people in the South East concerned about the cost of heating their homes rises and turn to using electric heaters.

This winter, more people are expected to use electric heaters, particularly those living alone, in attempts to avoid paying for high energy bills.

In a survey by Electrical Safety First, a leading UK charity on electrical safety, over 40% of respondents in the South East said they definitely intend to use, or are considering using an electric heater to heat a single room in their home, due to concerns over the cost of central heating.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, Nicola Smith, East Hub Prevention Manager, RBFRS said: “As more and more people are considering using electric heaters as a solution to keep warm this winter, it’s important that they are used correctly and safely to reduce the risk of fire. Failure to do so could have life-changing consequences.”

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued the following fire safety advice:

  • Never leave electric heaters unattended or on overnight.
  • Keep them well away from fabrics, such as clothes, curtains and furniture, which may catch fire.
  • Plug them directly into the mains wall socket and avoid using an extension lead.
  • Always sit at least one metre away from a heater as it could set light to your clothes or chair.
  • Before attempting to move your heater, turn it off and allow it to cool first.
  • Don’t take risks with old heaters. If in doubt, get them tested by a qualified electrician or buy a new one.

Electric heaters are a frequently used appliance during the colder months and can be a helpful way to stay warm. However, when heater fires occur, they can be devastating.

Over the course of this year, domestic energy bills have risen dramatically, putting households under much bigger financial strains when it comes to heating their home.

With bills set to increase again before the end of the year, members of the public, especially those who have not traditionally turned to electric heaters, may look to using them as an alternative heat source.

During Electrical Fire Safety Week Electrical Safety First works closely with the Government’s Fire Kills campaign, along with Fire and Rescue Services across the UK to raise awareness of electrical fire risks and the simple steps that people can take to avoid a devastating fire in their homes.

Electrical Fire Safety Week is a consumer awareness campaign run in partnership with the Home Office and runs from 14 – 20 November 2022.