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7 avoidable electrical fire risks in offices

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Would your business survive a fire at your office?

For most owners, a fire would be a costly setback which their businesses could ill afford.

You can reduce the risk of a fire at your premises by avoiding seven key problems:

1.  Overloaded plugs – this can cause plug sockets to burn out and spark, and that can ignite plasterboard walls or material around it. Check the amp rating of the items you’re plugging into one socket to ensure it doesn’t exceed the safe level. Some items will need a socket to themselves.

2.   Damaged wiring -  regular inspections will ensure your electrical wiring isn’t damaged by wear and tear or rodents. Damaged wiring can cause a short, and sparking can ignite material around it. Check for hot plugs or sockets, fuses being blown regularly, or tripping circuit breakers.

3.   People bringing in non-PAT tested appliances – without PAT testing, how can you know if a device someone has brought in is safe to use? Kettles, microwaves, lamps, fans, and laptops all need to be tested to ensure they don’t pose a fire risk.

4.   Computers left on all night – leaving computers running all night does increase the chances of an electrical fire, particularly if the computers are older. It also hikes your electricity bill!

5.   Chargers for laptops and mobile phones left plugged in for long periods – this can increase the risk of fire, especially if the chargers being used are cheap replacements. There have been instances of such chargers causing fires.

6.   Overloaded extension cords and plug adaptors – these have a limit to the number of amps they can take, so check the rating. Generally, they are 13A or 10A. Don’t exceed that maximum rating.

7.   Incorrectly-fitted lighting or wiring – this can cause serious problems, from increasing the risk of fires to risking your staff getting shocks or burns. Anyone who carries out electrical work at your premises should be a registered electrician who has the knowledge to ensure the work is safe and carried out to a good standard.

Need help with inspections, installations, repairs, or maintenance work at your office? Call our experts on 0845 003 6856. Find out more about our commercial services here: /commercial-services/.


Don't have an electrical fire nightmare this Christmas


How would you cope if you had a fire at your home this Christmas?

There are some simple things you can do to ensure you minimise the risk, and keep your holidays happy.

1.      Test or replace your old tree lights.

You should get your tree lights tested to ensure they are safe – especially if they are old.

You’ll need qualified electricians who offer PAT testing.

It may be cheaper to replace them with new, low energy LED lights which use far less power and give off far less heat – reducing the risk of a fire on your Christmas tree.

Real trees can also be very dry, which can increase the risk of a fire. So, buy a tree base which allows you to water it every day. It will also help to stop the pine needles dropping.

2.      Don’t overload your sockets.

There are so many demands on your electricity supply at Christmas – lights for the tree, TVs, laptops, tablets, phones, gaming consoles, and toys which need to be charged.

It would be easy to overload sockets and cause a danger. Ensure your sockets aren’t overloaded – unplug unused items and don’t leave laptops or phones to charge overnight. There have been safety concerns raised after fires involving batteries from phones and laptops which have been left on charge at night.

3.      Buy electrical presents from reputable outlets.

Always buy electrical items from reputable outlets who allow returns. It’s also important to test them as soon as you can to ensure they are functioning properly.

4.      Make sure hair straighteners and irons are unplugged.

If you’re getting ready for the Christmas party, make sure any hair straighteners or irons are unplugged before you leave for your festive fun.

5.      Don’t cook after drinking!

It’s too easy to leave food on the stove or in the oven and fall asleep. Electric ovens are very safe, but fire could spread if food is left to burn inside them. Stick to cold food – or a take-away.

6.      Ensure your smoke or fire alarms are working properly.

Test your smoke or fire alarms to ensure they’re working and that you can rely on them.

If your alarms contain batteries, they will need to be replaced sporadically, so you should test them every month.


Here’s wishing you a safe and merry Christmas!


Need help with electrical testing or fire alarms? Check out our services here: http://www.sonikelectrical.co.uk/fire-safety/