Everyone buys household equipment in good faith, choosing the most appropriate appliances to suit both budget and personal requirements, trusting manufacturers to ensure that their products live up to expectation – and are safe.
However, early police investigations indicate that a faulty fridge/freezer actually caused the fire at Grenfell, which then spread to the cladding.
Whirlpool recently advised owners of 55,000 Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines to stop using them immediately ‘due to a fire risk’, but the manufacturer had already deemed that 524,000 machines were unsafe. Check out gov.uk whirlpool update for the latest; further information is available at www.washingmachinecall.whirlpool.co.uk. This follows problems with their tumble dryers.
Manufacturers use different brand names for a range of appliances, so it is essential that we do our homework prior to any purchase.
Which? Magazine is an excellent source of information, monitoring products’ performance and safety, with regular updates on its website; its 2018 report, following a Freedom of Information request, revealed that 6,206 fires were caused by faulty appliances in the previous few years. Washing machines and tumble dryers accounted for 35%, cookers and ovens 11%, dishwashers 10% and fridges, freezers and fridge/freezers 8%.
The fire service advises never to go out, leaving washing machines or dishwashers in mid-cycle, because of the potential risk.
So, ensure peace of mind by visiting www.fireservice.co.uk/safety where a range of leaflets can be downloaded for free, with advice to cover most eventualities. For example, never leaving a naked flame unattended, ensuring smoke alarms work, and even installing fire extinguishers are urgent priorities. Soft furnishings – sofas, carpets and curtains – should always be fire proof.
Homeowners, and landlords, can also take advantage of local fire services’ free home safety visits to assess vulnerabilities, inside and out, developing an evacuation plan, should the need ever arise. The service applies to both old (including thatched) and new properties; to maximise the benefits, and with the attending fire officer’s permission, film the visit, highlighting any issues raised as a reminder to address them. Share the film with friends and family, to keep them safe – and remember that, during the summer, siting and managing BBQs can also present a fire risk.
In the event of any claim following a fire, insurance companies will expect proof that homeowners took appropriate safety measures to protect themselves and their property. Having evidence of a fire service inspection, and remedial action taken, would also be helpful if you are thinking of selling.
For further advice and guidance on the most appropriate insurance products for your property, contact us.