Tyne & Wear Fire Service issues warning about faulty wiring

Fire services call for residents to inspect plugs and cables
Fire services call for residents to inspect plugs and cables

Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service has urged residents to check plugs and cables to appliances.

As  the summer season approaches, many housholds will be switching on fans, TVs, and other electronic devices. Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue have issued a warning to residents and a list on how to stay safe with your electronic equipment.

Over 4,300 fires were recorded in 2017 as a result of faulty appliances and leads, which could be easily avoided if you follow these simple steps.

How to check your plugs are safe

It’s a good idea to check plugs and plug wires regularly. Plugs and their cables can be damaged with use. Here’s how to check the common, square-pin 13-amp plug used in all modern appliances such as hairdryers, vacuum cleaners and microwaves.

With the plug removed from the socket, check the cable:

Then, check the plug:

For plugs that did not come fitted to the appliance, check that the cable is connected correctly. 

Remove the plug from the socket, and remove the cover.


How does a fuse work?

The fuse in a plug is a safety device designed to protect the lead rather than the appliance. It is a deliberate weak link in a circuit which will 'blow' if an electrical appliance or extension lead draws too much current due to either an overload or a fault. The blown fuse cuts off the electricity to stop the lead and appliance from overheating and causing a fire.

Different types of fuses

Fuses are rated according to the power rating of the appliance. If you have to replace a fuse, it's essential, having checked and corrected the reason for the fuse blowing, to replace it only with another of the same rating. A common UK plug is generally fitted with a 3A or 13A fuse.

Plugs for appliances rated up to about 700 watts should have a 3-amp fuse (coloured red). 

For example:

Plugs for appliances rated between about 700 watts and 3000 watts (the maximum rating of a wall socket) should be fitted with a 13-amp fuse (coloured brown).

For example:

Manufacturers have now standardised plug fuse ratings to be either 3A or 13A. However, 5 Amp fuses are still used in some older equipment and are available to buy.

If you are unsure about the safety of any electronic equipment, it is always best to call in a professional.