Scotland’s over 60s face electrical risks

The vast majority of older people in Scotland want to stay in their own homes but a new report highlights how unsafe electrics can make that a risky business.

Electrical Safety First says that Scotland's ageing population is at increasing electrical danger with 78% of their homes in disrepair (and 58% requiring a critical repair).

Around two thirds of domestic fires in Scotland arise from electricity – with many caused by electrical products. Older people also tend to be owner-occupiers (72%), living in homes built before 1982 that often lack important electrical safety features. Critically, Scotland's quality standards for social housing and the private rented sector (PRS) don't apply to people who own the home that they live in.

However, electrical risk isn't limited to those who live out their later years under their own roof. Scottish care homes are not legally required to carry out mandatory electrical safety checks. Yet in 2014 – 2015, there were 81 fires with an electrical source in Scottish care homes and the number of fires in the sector has increased over the last five years.

Electrical Safety First's report makes a series of recommendations to the Scottish Government, including a call for free, five-yearly electrical safety checks for all households with one person of pensionable age. It has also recommended mandatory checks in the social rented and care sectors and that Residual Current Devices (RCDs) - should be fitted to all PRS homes.

To download a copy of the report, please visit

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