Laptop fire warning for Devon residents

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service recently attended a fire in a flat that was caused by a lap top computer overheating and catching fire on the lounge floor.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service recently attended a fire in a flat that was caused by a lap top computer overheating and catching fire on the lounge floor. There was one person asleep in the flat but she was woken by her smoke alarm and she was able to escape.

There have been a number of fires nationally and internationally where the cause has been attributable to overheating lap tops. It is very important that lap tops are always used on a hard surface, so that the cooling fan located underneath the lap top can control the temperature. If a lap top is used on a carpeted floor or on a bed or other soft furnishing, then the cooling fan inlet can easily become blocked and the device can rapidly overheat.

What to check for on your laptop:

1. Shut It Down

Unlike a desktop computer a laptop computer needs to be shut down when not in use. Shutting down when not in use reduces the likelihood of overheating, gives the computer a rest and saves electricity. Unplug the transformer from the mains when the lap top is not in use or being recharged.

2. Adjusting Power Settings

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Adjusting your power options will help your laptop from heating up when not in use even if for short periods of time. You can set your hard drive and display to turn off after a set time period. Another option is to set the laptop to go into standby or hibernate mode.

3, Checking the Fan

Overheating problems can be caused by the laptop fan not working properly. Always check the laptop manufacturer's online support and your warranty information. It may be possible to download software to test your laptop fan.

Smoke Alarms Safety

This incident also demonstrates the importance of having a working smoke alarm in your home.

Group Manager, Andy Newland said: "A smoke alarm is the simplest single step you can take to reduce the risk of dying from fire in your home. But if they are not working, they are useless, so it is important they are fitted properly and checked regularly."

If your home covers more than one floor, you should fit at least one smoke alarm on each floor. Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service advises you to:

* fit smoke alarms on each level in your home on the ceiling and in hallways and landings

* keep them free from dust and test them once a week

* consider buying a ten-year alarm; otherwise, change the batteries in your alarms every year

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