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Fire service dismisses solar panel concerns

25 October 2017

CAMBRIDGESHIRE FIRE and Rescue (CFRS) and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards are urging residents to be vigilant of bogus information regarding solar panels and their potential to affect emergency response.

It is understood that at least one company has advised customers with solar panels on their homes that, without a 'kill switch' to remove their power supply, fire crews will not attempt to fight a fire at the property because of the risk of electrocution. 

CFRS is reassuring residents that this is completely incorrect. The service’s fire protection officer Emma Massey said: "We have recently been made aware of reports regarding solar panels from owners who were worried that they may prevent us responding to an emergency.

“Procedures are in place to respond to every type of incident in the safest possible way, and this includes responding to fires involving solar panels. With this in mind, please do not attempt to tackle a fire yourself based on these rumours. Our advice is always - get out, stay out and call 999."

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s head of trading standards Peter Gell added: “Beware of cold callers both on the telephone and at the door. We advise consumers to get at least three written quotations and to carry out their own research into the product or service offered.

“Nobody should feel pressured into spending thousands of pounds on something that they don't actually need. If you have any concerns about visits or calls you receive from these high-pressure sales companies, or to report a trader, please contact our advice partners The Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454040506.”

Companies in other areas of the UK had previously falsely claimed that fire services would not attend fires involving old solar panels - encouraging them to purchase new ones. If you have been approached by an organisation that has made similar suggestions, contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice helpline on 03454 040506.