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Did you know one of the leading causes of electrical fires is outlets and appliances? According to Which?, faulty appliances cause 60 house fires a week in the UK.

Checking your plugs and cables is crucial in maintaining a safe home. A worn cord can emit heat, quickly setting fire to combustible surfaces. We recommend that you check plugs and cables regularly, as they can be damaged with frequent use.

Follow these simple steps to check the cable:

• Remove the plug from the socket • Has the cable come away from the appliance or the plug? • Is there any damage to the wire (has insulating tape been used)?

Now check the plug: Is there damage to the plastic casing? Has it overheated? You'll be able to tell if the cable or casing is discoloured

Does the plug meet British Standard BS 1363 (if it does, you'll find it marked on theback)Check that's there's no wiring showing at the base of the plug

Did you know that misuse of extension leads is another major cause of household fire?

Where possible your appliances should be plugged directly into a socket.

We would only recommend extension cords as a temporary measure.In some cases using an extension lead is unavoidable, mainly when using lamps or other appliances that have short cords.

If you have to use one, make sure you're aware of the following: Damaged or tangled cablesOverusing multi-way adapters or adapter blocks can significantly increase the risk of fireIf you have to use an extension cable, use one which you bought ready-assembled

Always check that extension leads and plugs are undamagedIf you're using an extension lead that has to cross a room, cover it with a rubberprotector strip.

Overloading sockets

Did you know that there are a reported 20,000 household fires in the UK every year and claim the lives of 60 to 70 people?

Our modern homes are full of appliances that have the potential to become hazards, especially when we start to plug them all into one socket.

Many of us will use a 4-way bar adapter to plug in such things as our phone charger, the stereo, a kettle or a toaster, etc. Whatever we plug in, we assume that because there's space, it's safe. That's not always true.

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