Know thy appliance
- Read your appliance’s instruction booklet. Additional product information is often available on a brand website.
- Store any instruction manuals safely. Note the serial number and date of purchase in the booklet for easy reference.
- Download a user guide online if your booklet has gone astray.
Safe as houses
- Fit at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home, placing one near your kitchen as a priority. Remember to test them frequently.
- Gas appliances should be safety checked and serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Set a reminder at www.staygassafe.co.uk.
- Be mindful of extension leads. Ensure you don’t overload your extension leads. Check the amps your leads can safely carry: the maximum is normally 13 amps. Then check your appliance usage – for example a fridge freezer can draw around 5 amps and a toaster 9 amps. While extension leads are very useful, they are probably best used temporarily or for small appliances only.
- Keep laundry and cleaning products out of reach and sight.
Your garden: a safe sanctuary
- Store equipment – lawnmower, hedge trimmer or other power tools – in a dry, safe place and check the item is undamaged before using it.
- When using electrical equipment in the garden, check the socket has been fitted with a residual current device (RCD). If you don’t have one built into your fuse box, use a plug-in RCD.
- Never use the lawnmower, hedge trimmer, strimmer or other power tools in wet conditions.
- Frequently check for damaged lights, extension leads, cables or connections used in the garden.
- Have outdoor mains supplied garden lighting, speakers and outdoor TVs installed by a registered electrician in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and BS 7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations).
Ovens and Hobs
- Never leave children alone near cookers, hobs or bubbling pans, and remember that children need parental supervision around any electrical appliance.
- Check your cooker is turned off after use, particularly the hob.
- Keep tea towels and kitchen roll away from burners and plates.
Fridges and Freezers
- If they are accessible, keep the sides and back of your fridge clear from debris such as old carrier bags or newspapers,
- Move any glass containers in the fridge to the higher shelves, out of reach of small hands.
- Generally fridges and freezers are designed to live indoors – don’t be tempted to install yours in a garage or in areas that may be damp or subject to abnormal temperatures, without checking the installation instructions.
- For safety, point knives, forks, and other sharp items downward in the utensil basket.
- Keep dishwasher tablets and cleaning supplies out of reach and sight.
Food Waste Disposers
- Never pour oil or grease into the disposer. Instead, collect fats in a container and then throw the container into the dustbin.
- Do not attempt to heat non-food products unless the instructions say you can’t.
- Keep vents on a standalone microwave clear.
- Don’t put metal dishes directly onto the turntable.
- Install in a dry, well-ventilated room.
- Clean the filter of fluff, lint and any other debris after every use.
- Periodically clear the vent tubes of any accumulation of fluff or lint.
- Keep appliance cords out of reach, especially those connected to hot items such as toasters and irons.
- Unplug appliances that get hot – such as irons and hair straighteners – immediately after use, and store out of reach and away from any flammable material.
- Leave portable hot appliances such as irons to cool down before putting them away, and keep them out of reach of children and pets.
- Never use electrical equipment in wet conditions and don’t use appliances in the bathroom unless the instructions say you can.
- When packing appliances away, ensure any cables are kept loose.
- Kettles – use in the open, never in a cupboard.
- Toasters – use in the open, never in a cupboard. Regularly remove the crumbs from the rack and crumb tray.
- Hair straighteners and curlers – these get extremely hot so be sure to lay them on a heat resistant protective pouch or mat.
- Heaters and fans – don’t cover or leave them close to curtains. Don’t leave a free-standing heater where a child can touch it or accidentally knock it over. Never run a fan on the floor.