Last weekend I received a call out to an electrical problem in a flat In Birmingham being let to students. The landlord had informed me that there was no power in the flat.


Nothing unusual to begin with I might add. However when I got there I soon realised that I was looking at a very dangerous scenario. Thank goodness no one was injured or killed – luckily the electricity tripped before someone became a victim of electrical injury or death.


In today's post, I'm going to tell you the story of last weekends visit to the student flat. If you or anyone you know is using sockets or extension leads in this way please stop. Electricity kills one person in the UK every week and injures 1000's more. Make sure that you are not the next victim.




The student flat is situated in at upmarket area of Birmingham and is situated within a block of other flats. There is an overuse of extension leads in the flat which is a concern within itself.


I quickly came across this:


The students come from abroad to study in the UK and have brought their own electrical equipment with them. Here is an incorrect plug adapter in use. Using dangerous adapters can lead to socket overheating and fire, not to mention the risk of electrical shock and injury.


The next problem I came across was even more concerning.....



Rather than purchase the correct adapter which would enable them to use their own electrical equipment safely (although it would be better if they replaced it) they have plugged in their 2 pin plug into an extension lead and used the top pin of a UK plug to power the appliances. This is extremely dangerous and I'm just thankful no one was electrocuted or worse.


Then there was this......



In order to use their appliances they have opened up the live and neutral by placing a UK plug top into the earth. As you may or may not be aware, you cannot force anything into the live and neutral (bottom bits) without opening up the top earth first. Don't try this at home folks.....


And just when you thought it could not get any worse......


No your eyes are not deceiving you, there really is something stuffed into that extension lead socket! The students were using pieces of wood or metal wrapped in paper into the earth entry so that they could use their appliances.


Extremely Dangerous....


As part of a block of flats, there are other people to think about. It was more luck that a serious fire did not break out from electrical appliance mis-use or sockets overheating. If you look in the background of this photo, you can see other electrical appliances on shelves!


Electrical fires can start undetected....

Electrical fires can start inside walls and are not noticed until they are well established. A typical reason for a fire starting inside a wall is due to a socket overheating. The misuse of sockets in this way would quickly lead to electrical fire if the power didn't cut off.


If you have concerns about electrical safety


Remember to use electrical appliances in accordance with manufacturers instructions. Never use an electrical appliance from another country without using the correct adapter. It is better to replace the equipment as soon as possible with UK versions.


If you are depending heavily on extension leads, it is worth asking your landlord or contacting an electrician in Birmingham to fit additional sockets in your home. If you must use an extension lead, always use a bar version. Never use plug adapters.


If your electricity is tripping more than usual or you have concerns over the safety of your electrical system in your home, please consult a qualified and registered electrician in Coventry or Birmingham as soon as possible. A problem dealt with quickly will be far easier and cheaper to repair than waiting until it becomes a dangerous problem.