Member Article

Keep Scares ‘Out’ of the Home

As Autumn takes hold we all know the joy of a roasting fire. But the last place you want to hear and smell the crackling flames is in your own home, caused by something that could have been prevented with clear thinking and foresight.

The domestic team at Harris Balcombe, the UK’s leading loss assessors and insurance claims consulting firm, are frequently called to peoples’ homes that have been devastated by what seem like very obvious causes. How often do we all go out leaving our electrical goods on standby? Or having left the tumble dryer on whilst we run errands? In a time-poor society we’re saving every minute, but by doing so we’re placing our homes in danger.

The most important advice from Rosie O’Neill, senior domestic technical manager at Harris Balcombe, is to maintain your electrical appliances to a good standard. She comments: “Knowing about the dangers of electricity is one thing, but if you’re ignoring frayed cords, broken cables or overloaded extension leads then you could be on a countdown to danger.

“And placing large appliances too close to the wall, therefore not allowing the cooling mechanism to fully do its job, can cause overheating and trouble. Between April 2017 – March 2018 there were an astonishing 30,744 house fires*.

She then goes on to add: “Fire alarms can be relatively inexpensive and easy to install; they are a must in any domestic setting. The same can be said for Carbon Monoxide detectors, which can help to prevent a possible fatal poisoning. These can plug easily into an electric socket and therefore you don’t need to worry about batteries running out. A truly frightening 23 per cent of households had never tested their alarms in 2016/17*. Make a note in your phone to remind you to check your fire alarm each month. Easy, simple steps really can save lives.”

Washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers have undeniably improved our lives, but statistics show that faults within these such appliances can cause domestic fires*. Rosie O’Neill comments: “We have come to rely on these white goods, but often we never think to consider the safety of them. However to do so would be at your peril. Regular checks of your appliances and their suitability should become a regular part of your household rota. As well as ensuring they aren’t left switched on when you leave the house.”

1*. Home Office, Goverment Fire Statistics Data 2*. English Housing Survey 2016-2017, Goverment Data 3*. BBC “Faulty appliances cause 12,000 fires, Which? research finds”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Harris Balcombe.

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