AF&RS is warning of the dangers of cheap electrical products this Christmas

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is warning of the dangers of cheap electrical products this Christmas after a heated blanket for pets caught fire.

Two crews from Kingswood fire station were called to the incident on Charnhill Ridge, Mangotsfield, in the early hours of Thursday (13/12) morning.

On arrival, they found that the heated blanket for the family cat, Sasha, had overheated and caught fire in the living room.

Luckily, the residents were alerted early and the fire service was able to respond quickly due to smoke alarms fitted within the property.

A night-time routine which included the closing of internal doors contained the fire to the living room and prevented the travel of smoke and fire to other areas of the property.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus used one high-pressure hose reel and one 45mm jet to extinguish the fire.

They also managed to rescue Sasha, the 14-year-old cat, and administered oxygen therapy before she was taken to Zetland Veterinary Hospital by her owners.

The cause of the fire is thought to be accidental but AF&RS is warming people ahead of Christmas not to buy cheap electrical products.

Martyn Bolt, Station Manager for AF&RS, said: "Fake or cheap electrical products appear more convincing than ever, but they can contain less than half the internal components required to run safely.

"Remember, if a bargain looks too good to be true, the chances are it probably is.

“Buying cheap could end up ruining your Christmas and putting your family or pets in danger. Always think before you buy and stay safe this festive period.”

Follow these tips to avoid dangerous fake and substandard electrical products:

  • Buy electrical products from reputable retailers. This way you can be assured you’re buying the real thing
  • Check prices and shop around! Check online shops and, if possible, visit the high street. Beware of "too good to be true" prices
  • Check that voltage is 230-240V, 50Hz, and that products are fitted with a three-pin UK plug or charger
  • When buying online, look for the padlock symbol at the bottom of the screen when you are filling in your payment details
  • Beware glowing reviews, especially if the reviewers aren’t verified
  • Beware of words qualifying an item’s authenticity. If the seller claims the product is ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or ‘authentic’, double-check the source. Most reputable retailers don’t need to sell their products like this
  • Look for the seller’s contact details - a full address, and not just a PO Box number. Not all websites with a address are based in the UK
  • Read product guarantees, terms and conditions, and returns policies before you buy