Firefighters in Lancashire are urging residents to be vigilant while taking simple safety precautions following a worrying report on plastic-backed fridges.
Which?, the Consumers Association magazine, issued a report this week named 250 brands of fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers as potential fire risk items.
While less than 8% of fire causes nationwide have been from fridge-freezer appliances in the last five years, Lancashire Fire and Rescue says it is important that people are aware of the risks of plastic back fridge freezers and says there are some simple steps people can take to stay safe.
The service is advising people to avoid buying plastic backed fridges in future.
Steve Morgan, head of Service Delivery at Lancashire, said; “London Fire Brigade and Which? carry out vital and incredibly detailed research that is paramount to keeping ahead of changing safety regulations.
“Whilst the most recent research into plastic backs on fridge-freezers is not immediate cause for concern in households it is important to carry out some basic fire prevention and fire safety procedures in day to day life.”
LFRS advises following these simply safety precautions that can be applied to all white good appliances, not just fridge-freezers:
•Ensure the appliance is plugged into a single three-pin plug and not an extension lead
•Ensure there is enough ventilation around the back of the product and items are not left on top
•Register your appliance with the manufacturer
•Heed any safety recall notifications
•If you suspect a fault or your white good makes an unusual noise stop using straight away, remove the appliance from the socket and contact the manufacturer or an approved electrician
•Ensure you and your family have a fire escape route planned in case of emergency and children know the first rules of a fire, ‘Get out, stay out and call 999.’
Mr Morgan added; “Anything with a heating element is always going to have the potential for fire.
“They have to be maintained and if they’re no longer serviceable, they need to be removed.
“Don’t take risks.
“Finally, we recommend that all residents have a working smoke alarm fitted in their home. Whilst smoke alarms can’t prevent fires, they do give an early warning to people in the house and those extra few minutes can be the difference between life and death.”