How to avoid home fires from battery charges and overloading sockets
As Christmas approaches and we will be at home for more time this year due to new COVID restrictions, we need to ensure that charges for phones, tablets, gaming consoles, laptops and Christmas tree lights are safe and not over loading sockets causing fires.
Aviva has issued a warning to customers after multiple home fire claims in 2021 have been linked to faulty, damaged or incorrect chargers, or items which were left to charge for too long.
There are many larger battery-operated products that aren’t just limited to model aircraft or cars, such as e-scooters, golf caddy and children’s toy vehicles, not to mention cars! With a large variety of battery-operated products on the market it is important to ensure that you charge them sensibly and use the correct charger to avoid overheating that causes fires.
Although fires are more often started by candles and garden fires, charges can cause more damage and surprise as they are more often left unattended.
The London fire Brigade state on their website that they attend on average 24 fires a week that have been started by chargers, batteries and cables.
The firefighters give some safety tips for charging devices:
- Always use the charger that came with your phone, tablet, e-cigarette or mobile device.
- If you need to buy a replacement, always choose a branded, genuine product from a supplier you can trust. There are lots of fakes out there, and it can be difficult to spot the difference.
- Avoid storing, using or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures.
- Protect batteries against being damaged – that’s crushed, punctured or immersed in water.
- Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete – it’s best not to leave your phone plugged in overnight for example.
- Never cover chargers or charging devices – that includes using your laptop power lead in bed.
- When you travel, avoid keeping all your items containing lithium ion batteries together, especially on a plane. Check with your flight carrier for additional information or advice.
- Don’t overload your sockets.
Five things to do to avoid overloading sockets:
- Check the current rating of the extension lead before plugging appliances into it, you will find this on the back of the extension lead.
- Never overload an extension lead by plugging in appliances that together will exceed the maximum current rating of the extension lead.
- Never plug one extension lead into another.
- Use a multi-way bar extension lead rather than a block adaptor, as this will put less strain on the wall socket
- Put additional plug sockets in using a qualified electrician.