Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s UK Home Safety Week this week.

The main focus of UK Home Safety Week is to raise awareness of the hidden dangers in the home which are presented by traditional home appliances, and how using them correctly and taking good care of them reduces the risk of fire.

Making sure that household appliances are safe should be part of a wider fire safety plan which should include knowing how to escape in case of a fire, and ensuring there are working smoke alarms on every floor.

National Fire Chiefs Council’s UK Prevention lead, Stewart Edgar said: "UKHSW is an opportunity for fire and rescue services to help people prevent their everyday appliances becoming a fire risk. Unfortunately, in the UK more than 15,000 fires were linked to white goods and their use in the home in 2015/16. It's important that people are well prepared in case of an incident and help older or vulnerable friends keep their homes safe."

The best way to know if an appliance is safe is to register it. The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances are supporting UKHSW. Their website allows people to register several appliances all in one place.

DWFRS offer free Safe and Well checks to help residents maintain a safe home environment.

The Safe and Well check is a free service where an advisor will visit the home, fit free smoke alarms where required and offer advice to keep you and your family safe and healthier in your home.

Safe and Well Manager Vikki Thomas said: “Safe & Well Manager, Vikki Thomas said: “We all want to feel safe in our home. We’ve found that house fires that involve domestic appliances often have devastating consequences. By taking proactive steps to lessen the risk of a house fire, we can help people live happier and safer.”

DWFRS is giving the following advice to help ensure residents are as safe as possible in their home:

• Switch off appliances at the plug where possible before you go to bed.

• Don't leave appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines running overnight or when the house is empty.

• If you have a recalled appliance or an appliance subject to a repair order - don't risk it - stop using it.

• Make sure it’s installed and maintained properly. This can be as simple as ensuring appliances aren’t sitting on power leads or not defrosting a freezer.

• Avoid inappropriate installation. Make sure appliances installed in outbuildings such as garages and sheds are appropriate for outdoor use.

• Don't keep using appliances if they start to make unusual noises, smells or don't operate properly. Have them checked by a professional.

• Make sure you have working smoke alarms fitted on every floor of your home and test them regularly

• Have a planned escape route and make sure you and your family practice it regularly.