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Beauty appliances such as hair straighteners and curling irons are a major cause of house fires and dangerous burns, according to the latest research from Electrical Safety First. An estimated 650,0001 house fires in the UK have been caused by a straightener or similar device being left on.

To highlight the issue, Electrical Safety First, with the help of TV celebrity Fred Sirieix, is launching a new campaign today called ‘Pull the Plug’. This campaign is to remind grooming devotees to switch off their beauty appliances.

The findings of this research confirm that many of us are taking serious risks in our beauty regime: one in 12 women admit to having left their hair straighteners switched on at least once and almost half of women have panicked about leaving an electrical beauty device switched on when they’re out and about.

Emma Apter, Head of Communications at Electrical Safety First commented:

“Our research shows that one in 12 women have left a beauty appliance switched on at some point or other, which is extremely worrying. Straighteners can reach temperatures of over 235° and can take up to 40 minutes to cool down. Considering that they reach temperatures hotter than a deep fat-fryer, there’s a very high risk of damage or fire if left near flammable materials.

“We’d like to encourage everyone to pull the plug on accidents caused by hair dryers, straighteners and curling irons. Switch devices off when you’ve finished using them, unplug them and leave them to cool on a mat or heat proof surface.”

Electrical Safety First research has found that people aged between 18 and 24 are particularly at risk. One in three people in this age group has been burnt by an electrical beauty appliance. The research also shows that over 200,000 people in this age group have experienced a house fire caused by an electrical beauty appliance.

On a morning earlier this year, Trevor and Marjorie Yoxall from Staffordshire got ready for work. Like any other day, Marjorie used her hairdryer and left it plugged in on her dressing table. They left the house at 7.00am and it was 1.00pm before a neighbour walking by saw flames in their bedroom window. The fire caused significant damage to their bedroom and their son’s next door. But the most heart-breaking part of the incident was the death of their rescue dog, Buster. The Yoxalls have had to move into temporary accommodation and they estimate it will be months before they can move back in.

Assistant Chief Officer Steve Foye, head of community safety at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“The dangers of leaving appliances such as straighteners on are stark. Fire safety might not immediately spring to mind during a beauty routine, but it’s vital that people remember to take care as they get ready to go out.

“We’ve tested the dangers of hair straighteners with Electrical Safety First to show what can happen when they are left on and unattended. We captured this on film and we hope that this illustrates the risks and reminds people of the importance of switching these appliances off.”

For more information visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/pulltheplug or search the hashtag #PullThePlug on Twitter.

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