new data reveals 4,634 business fires were a result of faulty electrics

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  Posted by: electime      8th February 2024

Using data collected under the Freedom of Information Act, Direct365 contacted all 50 UK Fire and Rescue authorities requesting data regarding the number of calls outs they’d completed regarding electrical fires, the cause of each fire and whether the callout was made to a domestic or commercial property.

In total, 64 per cent of Fire and Rescue services responded to the request for information in the correct format, and Direct365 then analysed data from 32 Fire and Rescue authorities.

4,634 callouts for electrical related fires have been made to businesses over a 3 year period

It’s expected that the number of callouts to businesses regarding electrical related fires will be considerably lower than the number of domestic related callouts recorded. In total, 4,634 callouts have been made to businesses over a three year period. Therefore, of all the fires caused by electrical equipment in the UK, 14 per cent of them occurred in a business.

While workplace electrical fires do not occur as frequently as in the home, this is likely due to the Health and Safety at Work act that states that all workplace electrical installations and equipment must be safe to use. Therefore, the easiest way to ensure this is by carrying out regular PAT and fixed wire testing.

Much the same as domestic callouts, faulty equipment and appliances accounted for the majority (59 per cent) of electrical fire related incidents. This is unsurprising considering the typical business will have a host of IT equipment, kitchen appliances and machinery that can often be unmanned for hours at a time.

Additionally, 455 callouts were made to businesses for fires related to heating equipment over the past three years, with these callouts spiking over the winter months.

Although amounting to just 7 per cent of fires in businesses, it is worth noting that although many businesses do not have substantial kitchen facilities, 306 callouts were a result of cooking. This includes use of appliances such as microwaves, kettles and coffee machines.

The most electrical fires occur in December, with on average 1,053 callouts 

The data received from each Fire & Safety authority looked at the number of callouts across a three year period, from December 2020 – November 2023. This revealed that December is the month in which most electrical fires occur. Across 2020, 2021 and 2022 an average of 1,053 callouts were made to fires caused by electrics.

We can presume that a spike in electrical related fires in the run up to Christmas can be a result of faulty decorations and fairy lights as well as fires caused by increased oven and heating usage.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue department has received the most callouts for electrical related fires

When looking at figures proportionately, Shropshire, with a population of 324,716 takes the top spot for the county with the most callouts (621) with 1.91 callouts per 1,000 population.

Elsewhere, Leicestershire comes in second with 946 callouts (1.33 per 1,000 population), closely followed by Greater Manchester with 3,750 callouts, equating to 1.31 per 1,000 population.

This may conclude that homes and businesses in these areas may not be following safety compliance measures to ensure that both the wiring of their properties and appliances and electrical equipment in them are in top working order.

Safeguarding our homes and workplaces from electrical hazards 

It is apparent from the data provided by Fire and Safety departments across the UK that more must be done to stop electrical fires from occurring.

Karl Bantleman at Direct365 commented: “Data from Fire and Rescue services throughout the UK has identified the scale of electrical related fires and common underlying dangers that could be present within our homes and business premises.

Ensuring that electrics are functioning safely both in the home and in the workplace isn’t just for efficiency, it’s a key factor in safeguarding a risk-free environment. Our Fire and Rescue teams do a great job in attending to callouts. However, the regular servicing and maintenance of electrics could reduce the callouts related to electrical fires, as more faults will be identified before it is too late.”

Head to Direct365 to find more information about the electrical compliance services on offer.