East Sussex Fire & Rescue (ESFRS) revealed that last year crews attended 134 house fires caused by electrical products.
This news has prompted the service to support Electrical Fire Safety Week (November 22-28) together with Electrical Safety First.
ESFRS has warned people of the dangers of online marketplaces as people crack on with Christmas shopping.
A spokesperson for the service said, “Online marketplaces, already seen as convenient and cheap options for buying household goods, increased in popularity last year. This year, with supply chain issues threatening Christmas deliveries and cautious attitudes towards returning to pre-covid normality, it is likely that once again shoppers will be driven online in the search for those ‘must have’ Christmas gifts and gadgets.
“However, sellers of counterfeit or sub-standard electrical products exploit online marketplaces for the ease with which they can sell their goods to a mass market – it can be impossible to know what you are actually buying, with no real guarantee that the product you receive will be genuine.”
Electrical Safety First carried out numerous tests on electrical products purchased from well-known online marketplaces and found the majority of them failed to meet UK safety standards and some posed a severe risk of electric shock or fire.
The service has told shoppers to buy from a retailer that you know and trust – either direct from the manufacturer’s website or a trusted high street name.
ESFRS also reminded people that fake items can be almost impossible to spot because official photos can be copied, there could be fake official safety marks, and there could be believable pricing just a few pounds lower than the recommended retail price to avoid raising suspicion.
Fake electrical products often contain faulty parts that can overheat and catch fire or deliver a fatal electric shock. While many items appear sophisticated on the outside, they lack essential safety components inside.
The spokesperson said, “If a bargain seems too good to be true, it probably is.”