UK: During this (hopefully) long, hot summer, fire chiefs in London have warned businesses to check their air conditioning systems are in good working order following two blazes caused by poorly maintained units.

In recent weeks, London firefighters have been called to an overheating air conditioning unit in a City office building, and 35 firefighters tackled a blaze at a shop on Central Parade in Streatham where an air conditioning unit was again to blame.

“Air conditioning units can offer welcome relief in hot weather but if they are not properly maintained they can become a fire risk – especially if they have been out of use for a while and are then suddenly switched on during a hot spell for long periods,” said Mark Andrews, London Fire Brigade’s deputy assistant commissioner for fire regulation.

“You should clean or change filters regularly, as these can become clogged and lead to the system overheating. We also find that portable air conditioning units are often plugged into extension leads and electrical appliances like these, which require a lot of power, can cause plug sockets to become overloaded.”