The main reasons behind fires originating from the use of electrical devices are; overheating cables as well as electrical equipment due to overloading; deteriorated or inadequate electrical insulation on cables or wiring; flammable materials getting placed far too close to electrical appliances which can emit heat when operational normally or perhaps become hot as a result of a fault; arcing or sparking by electrical equipment; along with the use of unsuitable or unsafe electrical apparatus in areas where flammable atmospheres might be present, such as flammable liquid stores.
Explosions can happen if switchgear, power cabling or motors are susceptible to a flow of electrical current which exceeds the maximum these were designed to work with. All electrical designs must be designed, installed and well maintained to prevent placing people in danger. There are a number of British Standards which provide guidance on how electrical systems and electronic equipment should be constructed and serviced. British Standard 7671 also offers practical advice on systems operating at up to 1000 V. Only suitably trained/qualified individuals should be in a position to install, maintain or otherwise work on electrical systems or equipment.
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Be sure that individual heating appliances, particularly those which are portable, are utilized safely. Common factors that cause fire include: failing to follow the manufacturer's recommendations when using or changing cylinders of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG); placing flammable materials on top of heating appliances; positioning portable heaters far too close to flammable materials; and careless re-filling of heaters using paraffin.
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Supplementary heating used during power failures or in exceptionally cold weather needs to be checked before being used and regularly serviced. If you are using such appliances on a regular basis, it is advisable to use fixed convector heaters rather than portable heaters.
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