Thousands of residents are putting their lives in danger by taking unnecessary risks when using electrical appliances.

A survey carried out for a fire safety campaign has revealed that up to a third of residents are failing to follow official safety advice with their household devices.

Almost two in five residents in Brighton surveyed by the Electrical Safety Council blocked air vents by failing to clean behind their fridges and freezers.

More than a third confessed to blocking air vents by using the microwave as an additional surface.

Other dangerous practices carried out include leaving the tumble dryer running unattended overnight and overloading adaptor sockets.

This week the safety council launched a campaign to improve electrical safety in the home with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

The council warned that fires caused by the misuse of appliances had increased by more than a third since 2009 despite an overall decline in house fires.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has attended numerous electrical appliance fires over the summer and regularly issue advice to residents.

On Monday August 13 firefighters were called to a microwave fire at Brighton and Hove City Council ’s housing office in Oxford Street, Brighton, while residents were lucky to escape a house fire in Rye Close, Polegate, on Monday May 28 after leaving their dishwasher on overnight.

Firefighters have also had to fight similar electrical appliance fires in The Bourne in Hastings on May 21, in Grand Parade, Brighton on April 15 and Malines Avenue in Telscombe Cliffs on Saturday April 14.

The survey also revealed that many Brighton adults do not have adequate protection from electrical fires with less than half having a residual current device in their fusebox.

To help the public become more aware of fire safety blunders, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has created an online “Black Museum” of images from fire scenes where the public can learn important safety messages. In addition the Electrical Safety Council has created a Fire Blunders game hosted on Facebook and created a free home electrical safety check smartphone app.

To visit the “Black Museum” visit .