More people will be needlessly killed in fires caused by faulty white goods if the government does not implement desperately-required safety recommendations, the London Fire Brigade has warned.
In a letter to Theresa May co-signed by Sadiq Khan and several safety bodies, the fire service demanded urgent action, saying it was “extremely concerned” that thousands of “dangerous” appliances are still being used in homes across the UK.
According to the London Fire Brigade (LFB), three fires a day in the UK are caused by tumble dryers, while some fridges and freezers are still produced with a “flammable” plastic backing.
Since 2010, firefighters have attended 2,170 fires involving white goods in London alone.
Now, the LFB is demanding that a central web page - hosted by Gov.uk - is set up to list all product recalls so people can easily search if they are at risk.
The urgent call comes a year after a faulty Indesit tumble-dryer - which was subject to “corrective action” by the manufacturer - sparked a major tower block fire in Shepherds Bush, destroying the homes of several families.
No-one was injured in the blaze, despite the fact 120 firefighters were needed to bring it under control.
The Grenfell Tower fire - the official death toll of which stands at more than 80 - also started in a fridge-freezer.
Excluding Grenfell, there have been nine deaths and 298 injuries from blazes started by white goods in London in the past year.
While safety recommendations to tackle the issue were made three years ago following the death of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah - who died after saving his wife and two children from a fire which was caused by a faulty Beko fridge freezer - the LFB claims “no substantial changes” have been made.
“What is needed now is action,” the letter to the PM reads.
“There are some simple things that the government can do. For instance, it is extremely difficult for consumers to check if appliances they have in their home are subject to product recall.
“We believe there should be one, trusted, searchable place to look up your appliances - this should be set up centrally on Gov.uk.”
The letter continues: “There needs to be improvements in the way that producers and distributers undertake assessments of how safe white goods are to specifically take into account the risk of a fire starting when people are asleep.”
The fire service also recommended that manufacturing standards of white goods should be reviewed, while appliances should be marked with a model/serial number so they can be identified after a fire.
Khan, Mayor of London, said the government’s delay in implementing the LFB’s safety recommendations was “inexcusable”.
“The terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower in June is a stark reminder of just how devastating a fire caused by faulty white goods can be,” the Press Association reported.
“Now, a year since the tragic fire in Shepherd’s Bush which led to these important recommendations, the Government and manufacturers must urgently act to help prevent any further tragedies and keep Londoners safe.”