The festive season is just around the corner and park homes across England are twinkling with fairy lights and Christmas cheer. One in twelve people confess to leaving their fairy lights on overnight, potentially endangering their home as they can overheat and produce a fire hazard. Give your lights a break and switch them off when you’re not around to enjoy them. Avoid overloading sockets, extension leads and adaptors too.
Older light may not comply to current safety standards or have hidden damage from being stored incorrectly or just through wear and tear. New lights should be low-voltage rather than mains voltage and outside lights should plug in indoors to a socket protected by an RCD.
The fantastic Electrical Safety First have an excellent leaflet which you can read or download. Visit: www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk
Older Park Homes can be dangerous as they don’t meet basic electrical safety standards, and don’t include life-saving devices such as a modern fusebox, circuit breakers and PVC wiring. Sometimes a health condition such as dementia or Parkinson’s can increase the risk of an electrical accident, as these conditions cause reduced mobility and memory. If you’re worried about your park home, or concerned about a neighbour or relative, read on for some simple things that you can do.
Any signs of overheating such as curled labels, discolouration or scorching should be a
warning sign. If you see any signs of cracking or burn marks around the light fittings stop using them immediately and get them checked by a registered electrician.
Every property should have a working smoke alarm and batteries should be changed every year. On the 1st of every month test the smoke alarm by pressing the ‘Test’ button. If you are unable to fit an alarm yourself, your local Fire Brigade can assist with providing and fitting smoke alarms, some also provide long “fingers” on a stick to make testing easier.
CABLES AND WIRES:
Cables should be in good condition with no signs of damage, cracking or splitting and should be enclosed in a PVC sheath. Cuts, damage or signs of excessive wear and tear mean that the lead or plug might need replacing.
If your electrics are over 10 years old they’ll need checking and possibly updating. Electrics can also become damaged or faulty which will require professional attention. Warning signs – round pin sockets, braided flex hanging from ceiling light fittings, sockets mounted in skirting boards, damaged plugs and sockets, visible burn marks, crackling sounds or excessive heat being emitted.
Your fusebox controls the electrics in your home which is why it’s important that you check it’s working safely. All fuseboxes should have a main switch and fuses and/or circuit breakers. It should NOT have a wooden back, cast iron switches or what looks like a mix of different fuseboxes. If your circuit-breakers trip or fuses regularly blow, then it’s worth getting them checked by a registered electrician.
Residual Current Devices are life-saving device that cuts out power if there’s an accident and can prevent you from receiving a fatal electric shock. To check whether you have an RCD press the ‘Test’ or ‘T’ button. If you do have one then pressing it will switch off the power to the areas of the home that it protects. If you don’t have an RCD in your fusebox or it’s not working then you should use plug-in RCDs for all the sockets in your home and speak to a registered Part P Electrician about updating your electrics.
Original words provided by Electrical Safety First. Additional text added.