Assembly Member joins leading Charity to keep constituents safe

SPARKING SAFETY – ELECTRICAL SAFETY WEEK WALES

Assembly Member joins leading Charity to keep constituents safe

In Wales, there were nearly 1,900 fires caused by electricity in Welsh homes over the last 5 years.[i]

David Rees, Assembly Member for Aberavon, visited the recent drop-in session hosted by leading consumer safety charity, Electrical Safety First.

“It’s been estimated that almost 30,000 Welsh homes are at potentially serious risk of fire due to old or damaged electrics”, explains Mr Rees. “I wanted to come along today to see how I can help keep my constituents – particularly those who are most vulnerable – safe.”

The drop-in marked the beginning of Electrical Safety Week Wales and offered AMs the opportunity to discuss the issues on why Wales has some of the highest number of fires caused by electricity, compared to other countries of the United Kingdom.

In a response to the Welsh Government’s report on this issue, the Charity has highlighted how fires in older housing stock in Wales (a significant proportion of which was built before 1919), is linked to deteriorating electrics. Home Safety Visits in Wales are conducted by the Fire and Rescue Services, and they are a vital trusted service which can pick up potential dangers with electrics in people’s homes across the country, especially vulnerable people who live in older housing.

David Rees AM said: – “I am backing the Charity’s efforts this winter during Electrical Safety Week Wales to keep my constituents safe. Taking simple steps like ensuring white goods are not used during the night or when you go out of the house, can help prevent fires in homes across Aberavon.

Robert Jervis-Gibbons, Policy & Public Affairs Manager at Electrical Safety First explained that: “Currently, Home Safety Visits – usually undertaken by Fire and Rescue Services – provide an opportunity for electrical problems to be identified”,

“But there needs to be adequate follow-up and a system in place to protect the most vulnerable and we are calling for a review on how Home Safety Visits operate in terms of electrical safety and ensure that there are proper funded referral processes for people who cannot afford to improve their electrics in their home. In the meantime, we are working with Assembly Members to keep everyone in Wales safe from electrical risk across the winter time when electricity in Wales is in greater use.”

The Charity is now calling on the Welsh Government to establish a dedicated scheme to fund electrical repairs in Welsh home to protect the most vulnerable.

ENDS

Editor’s Note:

Top Tips for electrical safety across the winter time include: –

  1. Consider fitting your fusebox with an RCD(Residual Current Device). It’s a life-saving device that switches the electricity off automatically if there is a fault. You can also buy plug-in RCDs for use in individual sockets.
  2. Don’t overload electrical adaptors by plugging too many appliances into one socket, especially those with a high electrical current rating such as kettles, irons and heaters. Visit org.uk/overloadingsocketsto check that your sockets are safe.
  3. If you are using a portable heaterto keep warm, keep it away from flammable materials like papers, curtains and furniture and never use one to dry your clothes.
  4. Turn off any electrical appliances that you are not using, particularly at night, when a fire can quickly spread unnoticed and cause more danger and damage.
  5. Check your sockets regularly – if you see burn marks or they feel hot, get a registered electrician to check if they need repairing or replacing.
  6. Make sure that you have a working smoke alarm on each floor of your property – if a fire does start, this will give you a chance to get out safely and call 999 for help.

[i] Electrical Safety First analysis of Statistics Wales figures over the last 5 years of fires caused by an electrical source of ignition.