Making a Black Friday list? Check it twice, advise firefighters

As this Black Friday’s retail bonanza encourages people to shop for a festive bargain, Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is asking shoppers to watch out for fake and substandard goods to reduce the risk of accidental electrical fires.

The Service is supporting Electrical Safety First for Electrical Safety Week (Monday 21 to Sunday 27 November) to highlight the dangers of fake electrical products as they present a serious fire risk.

New research carried out by Electrical Safety First reveals that an estimated nine million UK consumers have purchased a fake electrical product as a Christmas gift in the past.

AF&RS Group Manager for Risk Reduction, Matt Peskett, said: “A fire in the home can be devastating, destroying belongings and endangering lives.

“Fake electrical products appear more convincing than ever, but they can contain less than half the internal components required to run safely.

“We would like to urge shoppers to take the time to check that the products they are buying are genuine.”

The advice below is to help shoppers avoid dangerous fake and substandard electrical products:

·         Buy electrical products from reputable retailers, this way you can be assured you’re buying the real thing.

·         Check prices and shop around! Check online shops and if possible, visit the high street. If a bargain looks too good to be true, it probably is.

·         Check that voltage is 230-240V, 50Hz and that products are fitted with a three-pin UK plug or charger

·         Look for the padlock symbol at the bottom of the screen when you are filling in your payment details.

·         Beware glowing reviews, especially if the reviewers aren’t verified.

·         Beware of words qualifying an item’s authenticity, if the seller claims the product is ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ double check the source. Most reputable retailers don’t need to sell their products like this.

·         Look for the seller’s contact details, for online marketplaces. Look for a full address and not just a PO Box number.  Not all websites with a .co.uk address are based in the UK

·         Read product guarantees, terms and conditions, and returns policies before you buy

For more information on how to spot a fake, including after you’ve bought it, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/SpotTheFake

For more fire safety advice visit www.avonfire.gov.uk