We all love the convenience of modern electrical items from kettles and microwaves to tumble dryers and dishwashers. When used correctly, the risk of fire is low.

Make sure an electrical appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it. Beware of fake electrical products. Don’t overload! If in doubt: ONE PLUG, ONE SOCKET. Certain appliances, such as washing machines, should have a single plug to themselves, as they are high powered.

If you need to use extension cables and adapters, do not overload. Do not leave appliances running if they are unattended especially if you are out or asleep.

Check for scorch marks and fraying cables (shown on the image on the right hand side) as this can be very dangerous. If you are in any doubt, DO NOT USE!

Don’t forget!

  • Keep appliances clean and unblock filters. Do not block vents or store items on top of your appliance. Check and clean behind appliances.
  • When moving or installing appliances, make sure there is enough ventilation. Always be careful not to trap any cables.

Charging Electrical Items

  • When charging electrical goods, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and look for the CE mark that indicates chargers comply with European safety standards.
  • Switch off and unplug chargers and devices when not in use.
  • Avoid charging mobile phones and other electronic equipment overnight. NEVER place electrical items under pillows or on soft furnishings.


Batteries can ignite at waste management facilities and put staff at risk when they are not recycled correctly.

Follow these tips:

  • Never put batteries in your general waste or recycling bins.
  • Only recycle batteries using a proper battery recycling service, such as at your local recycling and household waste site, or battery collection point often found in supermarkets.
  • Remove batteries from broken devices if you can and recycle both the battery and the device separately.
  • If you’re unable to remove the battery, recycle it together with your old electricals.

Visit the Less Waste website to find out more about the dangers of zombie batteries and how you can recycle them responsibly. You can also visit the How do I dispose of guide to find out how to recycle, reuse or dispose of an item.