Fire officers warn of hole in refrigeration safety

03 Mar, 17

London Fire Brigade (LFB) warns safety proposals, designed to reduce the risk of fridge and freezer fires, have a ‘gaping hole’ in them.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned safety proposals, designed to reduce the risk of fridge and freezer fires, have a ‘gaping hole’ in them.

It has been lobbying for five years for all refrigeration and freezing appliances to have a fully fire-resistant backing as standard but according to the LFB new proposals still allow for exposed insulation.

LFB reports “many still use a flammable plastic backing, which offers very little protection against the foam inside catching alight if a fire starts”.

Key UK players are due to put fire safety proposals forward to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the body that sets the global standards for fridge and freezer manufacture.

However, the London Fire Brigade fears a key opportunity to ensure fridges and freezers are made to a higher safety standard will be lost.”

According to figures from the LFB, on average there is one fire a day involving white goods in the capital and since 2011there have been eight deaths and 120 injuries, as a result of fridge and freezer fires.

Assistant commissioner for fire safety Dan Daly said: “Partially covering the back of a fridge is like having a fire door with a hole in it that would allow fire, heat and smoke to pass through.

“The UK fridge and freezer industry has a real chance to influence the international body that sets the manufacturing standards for refrigeration and freezing appliances worldwide but there is literally a huge hole in their latest proposals.

“While most fridges and freezer work safely for years, they are potentially the most dangerous appliance in the home if they are involved in a blaze because they contain so many flammable materials. They are also one of the few electrical items to be left on when you are sleeping.”

The LFB has written to UK fridge and freezer representatives urging them to review their proposals and cover the gap, which has been left unguarded to allow for hoses and power wires, to conceal insulation foam.