Fire crews who battle blazes in Burton and Uttoxeter are urging people to check their appliances are safe as "peak time" for electrical blazes approaches.

County-wide figures from the last five years show a 50 per cent increase in appliance-caused fires between October and December compared to summer months.

The winter months see an increase in the use of electric heaters, electric blankets, tumble dryers and lighting as the nights grow longer.

Bosses at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service say it is "the perfect time of year" to remind residents of the importance of checking their equipment.

Stephanie Cooley, community safety lead, said: "The winter months usually see a huge rise in faulty equipment fires, most of which can be easily prevented if the equipment is checked thoroughly to make sure that it is working correctly, there is no damage or faulty wiring and it is maintained properly, registered and tested."

"Although most of these fires only result in damage to property, in the worst cases they have unfortunately resulted in a fatality.

"Most recently an elderly woman passed away in Newcastle after the wiring from her extension cable overheated. This is the exact tragic outcome we want to avoid."

More information on electrical and equipment safety is available online here or by calling the service's community advice team on 0800 0241 999.

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