Fire safety

Fire safety at home

Fire Safety at home is easily overlooked. Then you read a story in the news and it shocks you for a day or two, and then you revert back to your normal self.

I has such an occasion today when I read that a family lost their house because their laptop overheated while they were out.

Thankfully no one was in the house.

I did some research and last year in the UK, 159 fires were caused by computer appliances.

The 3 main causes are:

Ignition of wire or cable insulation or appliance housing or casing:

Make sure your cables are undamaged and not covered in clutter.

Make sure you are using the correct power pack for your device

If you use extension leads, buy ones that have surge protection and “connected equipment warranty” – This means they are built to cut off in the event of an issue with the devices, and if their equipment fails, they will pay up to the warranty amount to replace what you have lost.

If you’re not using it, turn it off or put it into sleep mode. It’ll save your electricity bill as well as keep you safe.

Dust build-up in desktop computers:

PCs do fill up with dust over time and this affects the air flow and subsequent cooling inside your desktop.

To clean out your PC, take the side panel of your PC off and a can of compressed air will do the trick – DO NOT use your hoover, I have seen it happen before and it didn’t end well!

Overheating laptops:

Laptops used on beds and surfaces whereby the vents are blocked will cause your laptop to overheat, not only does it pose a fire risk but it also damages the components inside you laptop.

If you want to use your laptop in bed, use a wooden cutting board that is slightly bigger than your laptop as a mini table.

If your laptop is showing signs of overheating (See below) but the vents are all clear, you may find the vents are  blocked with dust, a good blast with compressed air can help with this.

If the weather is hot or you do a lot of gaming, consider buying a laptop cooling tray to help circulate more air – my last laptop in it’s last year of life had a cooling tray just to work on a normal day, it was 7 years old though!

Good indicators of an overheating laptop\PC are:

– The fan is always on

– The laptop\PC is hot to the touch

– The laptop\PC is really slow doing the most basic things

– The screen has lines across it (This is a sign your Graphics card is overheating)

– The laptop\PC cuts out an shuts down – This is a safety mechanism in the laptop, if this happens, let your laptop cool right down before starting it back up again.

 

 

We tend to assume “it’ll never happen to us” but for 159 families this was not the case. 

Have a fab, safe, weekend!

Hazel

Safe Shopping this Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching and bargains afoot, it’s easy to get caught out when shopping online. Here are some Tips to help stay safe:

Check who you’re buying from

If you’re buying from big retailers you can be fairly confident you are safe and protected by their terms and conditions. For smaller companies, look to Trust pilot to give you the lowdown from other consumers.

Have a look at the website. Does it look modern and well built?  If any website makes you feel uneasy, go somewhere else.

Choose how you pay

Credit cards are insured against fraud (For purchases £100 – £30,000), Debit cards are not. If your credit rating does not allow for a credit card, you can get pre-pay credit cards that have the same insurances (Please check the individual terms and conditions – I am not a financial advisor! :))

Always pay by PayPal where possible to ensure that your card details are not shared about on websites you may not use again, they only thing they’ll have is your PayPal username.

If the online shop advertises it has an Amazon\Etsy\Notonthehighstreet\<insert other online marketplace here> shop, use that over their smaller site.

Check the website is safe

Look at your address bar (Where you type in the www.)

Safe Shopping this Christmas 1

Most browsers will display a padlock to show the website is secure HOWEVER: All this means is they are who they say they are, a padlock on amzon.com means that they really are amzon.com, it does not mean they are amazon.com and therefore perfectly safe.

Make sure the address starts with HTTPS, not just HTTP. The extra S means the link between you and the site is encrypted, completely secure and cannot be snooped upon.

Make sure the web address is correct! Some sites are set up to look just like another website, with a tiny typo they hope you won’t notice.

Location

Public WiFi is not secure and can be hijacked very easily. Personally I never use public WiFi.

What to do if something does go wrong?

If you think your card has been used fraudulently let your bank know straight away so they can stop any further use of it.

If you think you’ve been scammed,  report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online reporting tool.

 

Shopping online when done with caution can be a very safe way to shop – But shopping local should also be commended, if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it 🙂

Have fun shopping online!

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If you own a boat, this is the place to go to find the services you need.

The British Marine Electrical and Electronics Association is made up from manufacturers and waterside dealers who provide advice, sales, installation and service of electronic and electrical equipment.