MSP hears of hidden fire dangers in children’s rooms

North East MSP Peter Chapman at the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party conference
North East MSP Peter Chapman at the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party conference

North East Region MSP Peter Chapman was given some fire safety tips from the Electrical Safety First charity at the recent Scottish Conservative and Unionist party conference.

Mr Chapman was told that almost three quarters of all fires in Scotland are caused by electricity.

Electricity causes over 3,640 fires in Scottish homes – with more than two thirds arising from electrical products. And research by the charity, Electrical Safety First, has found that three in four children have a potential fire hazard in their room.

To get some advice and support in promoting this issue, Mr Chapman, visited Electrical Safety First’s stand at the recent Scottish Conservative Party Conference in Glasgow.

Offering a powerful visual illustration of the silent risks posed by electricity, it showed the range of dangers in a child’s bedroom that could endanger the whole family.

Among those highlighted were the risky locations for charging a product – such as leaving a tablet on the pillow, or laptop on a bed – where the heat produced by these devices can’t dissipate and can lead to fire. But the scene also indicated the dangers of other fire risks, such as an overloaded block adaptor or a fake phone charger.

“Electrical Safety First’s research found that children have, on average, 10 electrical items in their bedrooms, ranging from fairy lights to laptops – almost 25% more than their parents’ generation had in their rooms when growing up”, Mr Chapman said.

“It also discovered that over a quarter of all children have used or purchased a cheap, unbranded charger. These increase the chance of a fire, as counterfeits often omit key elements that can affect both the safety and functionality of the device.

“But it’s not just the kids who use a cheap, unbranded charger – the charity also found that 41% of parents admitted to using one!

“So the whole family needs to understand the dangers of electricity.

“It’s conservatively estimated that, where a person has been hospitalised due to an electrical fire, the cost to the Scottish taxpayer is £13 million each year. The personal devastation, however, is often incalculable.”