Electrical fire safety

We want all of Norfolk to be electrically fire safe, and that’s why we have created L.I.V.E, to remind our residents how to stay safe at home.

We’ve worked with NAPIT, an electrical trade association, and our partners at Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards team to develop advice, guidance and produce some short videos which demonstrate how electrical problems in the home can lead to fire.

L.I.V.E stands for:

L – Look, listen, smell
I – Investigate and isolate
V – Visit www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk to find an approved electrician
E - Emergency, is your house on fire call 999?

Look for signs of yellow discolouration on consumer units, switches and sockets. Listen for electrical arcing which is a buzzing noise around accessories. This could be a sign of a loose or failing electrical connection. Smell for fishy plastic burning which could mean that plastic is overheating.

Investigate and Isolate your electrical supply - if you see burning, overheating or damage turn off the electrics by operating the main switch.

Visit www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk and find a qualified and competent electrical contractor- registered with a UKAS accredited, Government Authorised Competent Person Scheme.

Emergency – If your house is on fire get out, stay out and call the emergency services out.

Nationally, just under half of house fires in England over the last five years had an electrical cause. Common causes include faulty electrical installations, appliances or leads, or misuse of electrical equipment.

In 2018-19, 44% of house fires were caused by an electrical problem. This means that of the 28,570 house fires in 2018-19, 12,986 were related to electrics.In Norfolk in 2019-20 there were 418 house fires recorded with 299 of those having an electrical cause.

Dangers associated with electrical current

The human body is a good conductor of electricity - it flows easily through our bodies.

Why? Humans are made up of 70% water, something electricity can move through easily. Electricity will always take the quickest possible path to earth.

A real electric shock is very painful and dangerous. Symptoms include:

  • Muscles tighten up, making it almost impossible to let go of the equipment
  • Lungs constrict, making it hard to breathe
  • Heart constricts and blood vessels tighten
  • Burns occur where electricity enters and exits the body

What is the law?

All electrical work must meet building regulations to ensure you and your family are safe. Using an electrician from the competition person scheme ensures the safety of you are your family as you can be confident their work complies with the law.

Competent electricians will be able to self-certify their work to ensure it complies with the British Standard for electrical safety BS7671. If you do not use a competent person you may have to get the work certified yourself to ensure it complies with the law.

Not all electrical work needs to be notified to the local council, but all needs to comply with the Building Regulations.

In England, notifiable works include:

  • New electrical circuits
  • Replacement fuse boxes (consumer units)
  • Alterations to existing circuits in a bathroom (within a certain proximity of baths or showers)
  • Alterations to existing circuits in any room that contains a swimming pool or sauna

If you use a registered competent electrician via the website, they can advise you of whether you work is notifiable and you will know you are in safe hands.

Need further help?

For fire safety advice, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/fire

For support finding an electrician, visit www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk

Electrical fire safety videos

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4