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Friday 23 March 2018

Leaving phone charger on your bed could lead to house fire, NSAI warns

The damage caused by a phone charger fire in Dublin last month
The damage caused by a phone charger fire in Dublin last month
The damage caused by a phone charger fire in Dublin last month

Alan O'Keefe and Sarah Jane Murphy

Leaving a charging phone or a hair dryer on your bed could lead to a fire in your home, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) have warned.

The NSAI issued the warning following another home blaze in Dublin, in which they highlighted the dangers involved in charging phones or gadgets on beds or armchairs.

“Electrical products like hair straighteners, hairdryers, laptops and phone chargers can be incredibly dangerous if left on beds or sofas,” said a spokesman.

The warning came after Dublin Fire Brigade brought a blaze under control at an apartment in Islandbridge which was caused by a charger left charging on a bed.

“Although duvets and quilts often undergo flammability tests, accidents like this can still occur,” said the spokesman.

Dublin Fire Brigade also issued a warning to the public on the danger of using chargers on beds.

The damage caused by a phone charger fire in Dublin last month
The damage caused by a phone charger fire in Dublin last month

Brigade emergency crews posted photographs on Twitter of the aftermath of the blaze.

The firefighters’ photographs show a mattress with significant fire damage. A mobile phone charger and an electric hair dryer were pictured lying on the charred springs of the mattress.

“The photographs act as a safety message.  People need to see the damage that can be done by phone chargers used on beds.  Chargers can get very hot,” a spokeswoman for Dublin Fire Brigade said.

The tweeted photographs show a nest of electrical cables and chargers on the floor beside the bed.

The room was heavily smoke damaged in the blaze on Monday night but it was only through quick action that the fire was not much worse.

“A fire tonight in a city apartment caused by a charging device on a duvet. Be safe, keep all gadgets away from your bed,” said the tweet accompanying the images on the Dublin Fire Brigade account.

A brigade spokesperson said that nobody was injured in the incident.

Last year, Dublin Fire Brigade issued a similar warning to the public about leaving plugged-in chargers unattended after a blaze in Castleknock.

It said the fire was caused by a charger left on a bed.

“Chargers are especially susceptible to overheating when placed on textiles,” said a Fire Brigade spokeswoman.

“A big risk is that a device could be charging on a bed when someone is asleep in the room and that they could be overcome by toxic gas and smoke,” she added.

Fire chiefs say it is safe to charge phones on bedside tables, but not on beds.

This is  because the materials used in bedding are much more likely to catch fire from heat generated during charging, fire experts say.

No one was injured in either last night’s blaze or the incident last year, but the Fire Brigade is keen to encourage safe usage of electronic chargers to prevent any similar incidents in the future.

They also endorsed the following rules when powering up gadgets, especially mobile phones.

Read More: Mobile phone charger sparks house fire

1. Don't buy cheap, unbranded chargers and make sure chargers are compatible to the device being used

2. Don't leave things to charge overnight or beyond the recommended charging time as stipulated in the instructions

3. Don't ever charge an appliance on a combustible surface

4. Do follow the manufacturer's instructions in relation to the device

5. Do keep electrical items away from flammable materials when charging

6. Don't overload sockets

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