Lighting the way – downlighter safety video from the ESC

Lighting the way – downlighter safety video from the ESC

Based on its own independent research – and anecdotal evidence of domestic fires arising from misuse of downlighters, from a number of Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) – the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has launched a new consumer safety video on downlighting.

The video – Downlighter Safety – offers a safety checklist for homes with downlighters and tips on how to keep them safe to use.

‘After gathering information from various fire and rescue services, we also undertook independent laboratory tests on a small sample of downlighter lamps, a number of which had safety issues,’ explained Martyn Allen, head of Technical Development at the ESC. ‘However, we also realised that consumers needed to know more about how to select and maintain their downlighters, to ensure they kept their families and homes safe from fire.’

The ESC was initially contacted by Surrey FRS regarding downlighters and their links to a significant number of fires in homes. One of these was a serious fire in a block of 27 flats. The fire was caused by a loose connection to a downlighter but the investigation also found that many other downlighters in the building were potentially unsafe. Another example was a roof fire in Godalming, where the cause of the fire was a downlighter that had been covered by Christmas decorations being put back into the loft.

‘There is no doubt that there is a need for this sort of information,’ added Nick Carey of the London Fire Brigade, who specialises in the electrical causes of fire. ‘In my experience as a fire investigator, I know that it is not just the installation of downlighters that can cause problems. Using the right replacement lamps and the use of space above the lights, for example, can also impact on fire safety. I am glad to see the ESC make this safety information so readily available to consumers.’

To view the ESC downlighter video – or to download a leaflet, visit:

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