Appliances cause one fire a day, say London fire chiefs

Thousands of potentially lethal white goods could be a “time bomb” in people’s homes, the London Fire Brigade warned today.

New London Fire Brigade (LFB) figures reveal there is nearly one fire a day in the capital, caused by white goods such as dishwashers, washing machines, tumble-dryers, fridges and freezers.

Of these, 90% were caused by a fault in the appliance or electrical supply, rather than human error.

Despite a reduction in fires in the home in recent years – 13% between 2011 and 2015 – those involving white goods have only reduced by 5% over the same period.

The LFB is now urging the Government to act on a recommendation made by presenter and journalist Lynn Faulds Wood, to introduce a single, publicly accessible register of recalled products. The recommendation was made following her recent review of the current product recall system.

Currently, consumers have to rely on a series of databases, manufacturer websites and media publicity to discover recall information.

Fire chiefs said they believe the current system to alert customers that a product is being recalled is “ineffective”, as only 10% to 20% are returned or repaired. The LFB also claim that faulty products often remain in circulation on the second-hand market.

LFB director of operations Dave Brown said: “While recent years have seen fires in the home steadily falling, fires caused by electrical goods are falling at a much slower rate.

“We strongly believe a single, publicly accessible register of recalled goods would make all the difference. Consumers, landlords and second-hand retailers would be able to quickly identify faulty appliances and find safety and recall information, which could ultimately save lives.

“We would like the Government to act on the recommendations made by Lynn Faulds Wood and make it as easy as possible for consumers to check they are not being put at risk by a faulty white goods time bomb.”

The LFB is also calling for consumers to register their appliance on Amdea’s website when purchased and to make a note of the make and model in case it is recalled later on. It suggested introducing a requirement to have fireproof marking on white goods, making clear the manufacturer, as well as the model and serial number for identification purposes in the event of a fire.

The London Fire Brigade has a website detailing electrical products that are subject to a recall, website and it is asking others to join its campaign by signing its petition.

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