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Avoid a dangerous shock in your garden this Easter Holiday weekend

If the weather is good over Easter you might be tempted out into the garden – but be careful when using electrical equipment outdoors.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are advising everyone using electrical goods in their gardens to ensure they are using a circuit breaker (or Residual Current Device (RCD)) on their electric equipment outdoors.

Pete Buckingham, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety Team Manager says:Keeping up appearances is very important for people in the UK; according to the research a neat and tidy garden is most important to British people, which rated higher than a garden being a place to enjoy, or a safe place. Three times more Brits viewed neatness and tidiness as most important in the garden. Three quarters of Brits maintain their outdoor space by mowing the lawn, trimming hedges and general gardening.

“But one in ten people have also experienced an electric shock or accident caused while using an electrical appliance in their garden. The top cause is cutting through the cable of a lawnmower, something that can cause a severe electric shock or even kill if there is no RCD protection. But research by Electrical Safety First shows that over a quarter of Brits don’t know what a circuit breaker or RCD is.

“A circuit breaker or RCD is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire, which can happen if you cut an electrical cable. RCD protection can be built into your fuse box or sockets but if you do not have built in protection, a plug-in RCD should be used with any kind of electrical equipment such as lawn mowers and hedge trimmers.”

With more than half the population using electrical devices in their gardens over a quarter of Brits had never heard of an RCD and of those who had heard of an RCD, one in six said that they didn’t always use one when using electrical equipment outside.

With an incredibly high number of people are using electrical equipment in the garden and having accidents outdoors. It’s more important than ever that anyone using mains voltage appliances outdoors uses an RCD.

Pete Buckingham adds: “But, it is not just green fingered gardeners who need to be aware of RCDs. As gardens become an additional living space, more people are using electrical equipment outside. Almost one in ten people with gardens said that they used mains powered entertainment systems, like speakers, outside. One in seven Brits have outdoor lighting in their gardens; while one in forty have a Jacuzzi, hot tub or heated pool in the garden. With any of these electrical items, a working RCD could prevent a fatal accident.

“Lots of people will be taking advantage of garden centre sales over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend to spruce up their gardens. A plug-in RCD can cost as little as £10. A fixed RCD will cost more, but will provide a greater degree of protection to help keep your family safe. We recommend that anyone using electrical appliances outdoors owns an RCD. Not using one could cost you your life.”

For advice and tips on staying safe in the garden, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/gardening