Fire Prevention Day 2023: Fire protection of sockets

Today is International Fire Prevention Day. To keep you safe, we give fire safety tips on how to use multiple sockets.

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9 October 2023 Fire Safety

International Fire Prevention Day always falls on 9 October. It commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and is intended to draw attention to the importance of fire prevention. We use this day to raise awareness about the fire risk of multiple sockets and give tips on fire protection of sockets.

Fire hazard from multiple sockets

If there are too few sockets, the multiple socket is often used. What people often do not realise is that most multiple sockets have a load limit of 3,500 watts. If too many electrical appliances or even several multiple socket outlets are connected in series, the power required adds up and the limit of 3,500 watts is quickly reached.

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Consequences of an overloaded multiple socket

If the load limit of the multiple socket is reached, the risk of fire is great. Overheating, short circuits, smouldering fires as well as cable fires or the development of a fire can be the result. An incipient fire can be extinguished with a fire extinguisher. But if the fire breaks out unobserved, the socket fire can quickly turn into a full fire. Human life, material goods and buildings are in danger.

Note the wattage when using multiple sockets

The load limit is indicated on the multiple socket in watts (usually 3,500 watts). This wattage should be adhered to so that the fire hazard of the multiple socket does not increase, because this can happen faster than you think! Do you know how much wattage a coffee machine, a kettle or an iron needs?

  • Coffee maker: 850 - 1,200 watts 
  • Fully automatic coffee maker: 1,500 watts 
  • Electric kettle: 1,500 - 2,400 watts 
  • Iron: 2,000 - 3,200 watts 
  • Toaster: 700 - 1,600 watts 
  • Microwave: 700 - 1,500 watts 
  • Washing machine / dryer: 1,500 - 3,000 watts

Would you have thought that the connection of a fully automatic coffee machine and a kettle can already exceed the load limit of 3,500 watts and that this increases the fire risk of the multiple socket? Carefully check the required wattage of your electrical appliances and the load limit of your multiple sockets.

Fire protection tips for multiple sockets

  1. Always pay attention to the maximum power of the multiple socket. You will find this on the power strip, the packaging or in the operating instructions
  2. A multiple socket outlet should have the CE mark and GS mark, as well as the test seal of a recognised institute such as VDE or TÜV. The maximum load in watts must also be indicated. 
  3. Only use one multiple socket, do not plug in several in a row. 
  4. The multiple socket should be exposed, i.e. not covered behind a curtain or between pieces of furniture. In addition, directly adjacent objects can serve as fire accelerants in the event of a fire. 
  5. Disconnect unused electrical appliances from the mains. In stand-by mode, there is still an electrical voltage. Unplug them to reduce the risk of fire from the multiple socket. 
  6. Regularly check the cables and connections for brittle or damaged leads, insulation or possible defects. 
  7. Replace outdated electrical appliances with modern ones that have automatic switch-off or overheating protection.
  8. Do not connect large power guzzlers at all via multiple sockets, such as radiant heaters, fan heaters, washing machines or tumble dryers. These should be connected separately to a wall socket.

What to do in case of danger?

  1. Disconnect the multiple socket from the mains. If possible, pull out the plug or switch off the power completely. 
  2. Extinguish the incipient fire with a CO2, powder or foam fire extinguisher (not with water). We recommend the fluorine-free foam extinguisher
  3. If the fire is bigger, call the fire brigade via 112. If possible, help endangered persons out of the danger zone. Close the room door in the room where the fire started. Move to safety. 
  4. If you were able to extinguish the initial fire yourself, call the local fire brigade via the local telephone number and clarify whether it is necessary for the fire brigade to move out.
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The fire risk of multiple sockets should not be underestimated. Take advantage of today's Fire Prevention Day and check your multiple sockets and connected electrical appliances. This way you can ensure the fire protection of sockets, protect yourself and other people!

Do you still have questions about the fire protection of socket outlets?

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