NICEIC and ELECSA are urging householders to think electrics when they carry out their checks on the elderly this winter.
Proportionately, older people suffer more fatal and non-fatal injuries from electrically-related house fires than the rest of the population.
People over 65 are particularly at risk because they often live in old or poor-quality housing that contains faulty electrics or old appliances.
Yet, research by NICEIC and ELECSA has revealed that although many people will be looking in on an elderly relative or neighbour this winter, the one thing that could be getting overlooked is a quick check on the state of the electrics.
Darren Staniforth, NICEIC and ELECSA technical development manager, said: “Some of the results we found were quite startling. While up to 50% of people will be making regular calls on a relative or neighbour this winter, less than 20% of those would think to take a quick check of the electrics to make sure everything is ok. With people over 65 statistically more likely to be involved in a fire caused by faulty electrics this is obviously concerning.
“During the colder months the elderly are more likely to be plugging in electrical appliances, such as heaters or electric blankets, many of which could be old and potentially dangerous.
“They could also be plugging these appliances into an electric supply around the home that might not have been checked in decades or perhaps never at all.
“We want to encourage those looking out for an older relative or neighbour to have a quick check of the home and make sure there is nothing there that could potentially lead to something awful occurring.”
Research carried out by NICEIC and ELECSA revealed that:
- 50% of us hold the opinion that the elderly are more at risk from the electrical dangers in our homes
- 75% have never helped their relative to have their home safety checked by an electrician
- 80% have never been concerned by the safety of the electrical appliances in their elderly family member’s home
Faulty electrics in the home account for 20,000 house fires each year, causing upwards of 70 fatalities.
Most electrical issues in the home are easily preventable by ensuring a home is regularly checked by a suitable, registered electrician.