75% of UK electricians wouldn’t know what to do in event of a fire

75% of UK electricians wouldn’t know what to do in event of a fire, according to new research, despite 10% having witnessed a fire while on a job.

The study, conducted by IronmongeryDirect, the UK’s largest supplier of specialist Ironmongery, surveyed 500 UK tradespeople to reveal how prepared workers are for emergencies.

Across all trades, a third (33%) of respondents have witnessed a fire while on a job, however, fewer than one in eight (12%) say they always have access to an extinguisher, and 85% say they don’t have one in their vehicle.

It appears that some trades are more likely to come across fires than others. Locksmiths encounter incidents the most often (56%), followed by joiners and plasterers (both 50%).

The UK trades most likely to encounter fires at work are:

  1. Locksmith (56%)
  2. Joiner (50%)
  3. Plasterer (50%)
  4. Building Surveyor (48%)
  5. Electrician (39%)
  6. Builder (34%)
  7. Plumber (28%)
  8. Carpenter (28%)
  9. Window Fabricator (27%)
  10. Landscaper (23%)

The level of fire safety knowledge also varies by trade, with landscapers and joiners the least prepared for such emergencies. More than nine in 10 (94% and 92% respectively) admit that they wouldn’t know how to respond.

The correct way to handle a situation depends on whether the fire is electrical, gas or chemical.

However, almost seven in eight (86%) tradespeople say they are unaware of the differences between them.

With this in mind, IronmongeryDirect has partnered with Edgaras Zilinskas, Director at Fire Immunity, to share the safest ways to treat each type of fire.

1) Electrical fires

“Electrical fires should be dealt with by cutting the power, and then spraying the area with a dry powder or water mist fire extinguisher.”

2) Gas fires

“For gas fires, turn off the gas supply, cover the flames using a fire blanket and utilise the appropriate fire extinguisher, such as dry powder.”

3) Chemical fires

“Chemical fires can be dangerous to tackle, but try to remove any sources of fuel, heat and oxygen by using carbon dioxide, foam or dry powder fire extinguishers.”

Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, says, “It’s clear from our research that many tradespeople are unprepared when it comes to fire safety, with worrying numbers not knowing what to do in the event of a fire or how to advise their customers on fire safety.”

“We hope that by highlighting these issues, we can help to raise awareness and encourage tradespeople to take steps to improve their fire safety knowledge and preparedness.”

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