Electrical Safety Focus for SNP Conference

With 70% of fires in Scottish homes caused by electricity, leading safety charity, Electrical Safety First, has ensured delegates attending the recent SNP Conference in Glasgow receive copies of its Scottish Manifesto, which focuses on home safety for all.
The Charity – which led the successful call for mandatory electrical checks in Scotland’s private rented sector (PRS) – now wants to see these extended to all social housing and owner occupied flats. It is also lobbying for enhanced electrical safety for Scotland’s ageing population, whether individuals remain in their own residence or enter a care home.
“Having successfully argued for improved electrical safety in the PRS, we now want to extend that protection to social housing tenants and owner-occupiers in flats – where electrical fires could spread to other properties”, explains Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First. “But we are particularly concerned with older people, who are much more vulnerable to injury from electrical fires than other age groups.
“The vast majority (72%) of older people tend to be owner-occupiers, often living in homes built before 1982 that can lack important electrical safety features. Critically, Scotland’s quality standards for social housing and the private rented sector don’t apply to people who live in, and own, their home. And there are no specific requirements for such checks in care homes, which are a particular concern.”
While the personal cost of electrical accidents can’t be calculated, a recent report by Electrical Safety First found that injuries caused by an electrical fault costs Scottish tax-payers around £8.9M each year. However, a third of this (£3M) is spent on older adults – who only represent 18% of the total population. To put this in perspective, the average cost of a hospital admission for someone over 65 is comparable to the weekly cost of 28 people living in a care home.
Clare Adamson, MSP for Central Scotland, added: “Electrical Safety First’s commitment to improving safety in Scottish homes, as outlined in their manifesto, can only be commended. Domestic fires often cost people much more than money and the impact of such fires are particularly traumatic for older people, who are more likely to be injured and suffer long-lasting distress at the damage to their home.”