House fires surge: don’t recharge at night!

The number of house fires has risen sharply since 2015.  Experts blame the increase on the rise in the number of people charging electronic equipment at home.

In 2015 4,362 house fires were recorded.  By 2017 this figure had risen to 6,270.

Fire service expert Tim Renders points to the number of electronic devices we are charging at home: electric bikes, hover boards, laptops and smartphones. Officer Renders says common sense is often lacking: “We notice that people are charging equipment in bed and in arm chairs.  These are very flammable.  It’s not a good idea.”

Officer Renders counted 46 deaths in house fires so far this year.  That works out at one every week. The fire expert is also calling for more reliable figures and for statistics to be gathered properly as they can increase awareness. He says that detailed information on the equipment causing fires should be compiled: the type of equipment, etc.

Officer Renders advises against charging equipment at night: “When you are asleep you don’t smell anything.  The smell of smoke won’t wake you. Equipment should be charged during the daytime under the supervision of a smoke detector.”

Smoke detectors in the home become obligatory next month. They should be placed near fire risks. Detectors with ten year batteries are the best type. Up to 8 may be needed in an ordinary home. An investment in detectors that are wirelessly connected to each other is advisable as it’s important to be able to hear detectors at night.