In 2018 Consumer champion Which? called for plastic-backed fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers to be removed from sale. Which? found that the backing material of nearly half of all such appliances currently on sale in the UK are manufactured from unsafe plastic that presents a potential fire risk. Their research also found that a number of models are backed with a plastic that manufacturers had in the past claimed was “fire-retardant” but in fact could also speed up the spread of a fire.
In London around one fire a day involves white goods and although fires caused by fridge or freezer faults are rare - 8% (source UK fire statistics) – they are potentially the most dangerous appliance because they contain so many flammable materials.
Which? is calling on manufacturers to stop making fridges and freezers with any plastic backing and urging retailers to stop selling them. And in conjunction with London Fire Brigade they are calling on the government to introduce new measures to protect consumers from potential appliance fires. Some of the measures include improved regulation of second-hand appliances, changes to the way refrigeration goods are made and a single government backed product recall database.
In the meanwhile, there are steps you can take to protect your family and home from potential appliance fires:
- Don’t ignore if your white goods start making a noise
- Check that your appliances haven’t been recalled
- Remember to fit smoke and heat alarms
- Always register your appliance
- Always keep your white goods in a safe, out of the way place and avoid keeping them in escape routes such as hallways and landings
Additionally, you can fit a Firetrace fire suppression systems to your appliances, the Firetrace system provides a simple solution to prevent any fire from escalating and can be retro fitted on all kinds of equipment including tumble dryers, fridges and freezers.