How to avoid electrical fires

Find out how to avoid electrical fires involving cables, plugs and sockets, electric blankets, lights or heaters.

Electrical fires often involve cables, plugs and sockets, electric blankets, lights or heaters.


  • Don’t overload extension leads and adaptors, they have a limit on how many amps they can take.
  • Check cables and leads regularly for signs of fraying or damage. If they are damaged, they must be replaced.
  • Keep cables and leads away from water, cookers, and other sources of heat.
  • Look out for signs of dangerous or loose wiring, such as scorch marks, or overheating. Only use one plug for socket.
  • We advise against using block plug adaptors, standard multi-socket fused extension leads are safer to use.
  • Check if an appliance is high-powered and should have a single plug to themselves  
  • Never cut off sealed plugs to use again.
  • Look out for signs of badly wired plugs. Any wires that are sticking out could come loose and debris could find its way into the plug and cause a fire hazard.
  • Keep lamps and bulbs away from soft furnishings such as curtains and other fabrics. Bulbs can get hot easily and set materials alight.
  • Choose LED lighting or bulbs which stay cool, even when in use.
  • Use the correct bulb for the fitting, incorrect bulbs can cause fire hazards.

Heater fires are often caused by placing them too close to flammable materials. With electric heaters, you should: 

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep heaters away from furniture and curtains.
  • Only move heaters if they are switch off and cool.
  • Turn off and unplug heaters before going out or going to sleep.
  • Use fireguards to prevent children and pets from touching the heaters.
  • Never dry washing on heaters or put anything on top that will obstruct the air grills.
  • Secure heaters against a wall to stop them from falling over.
  • Check your heater annually for any faults, if it shows any signs of damage or stops working properly.

To better understand how to use electricals safely in your home, take our online Home Fire Safety Check.

If there’s a fire: get out, stay out and call 999 and ask for the fire service.

If your clothing catches fire, remember: stop, drop and roll.

Read more advice on what to do if there’s a fire.

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