What is it?
Launched on 13 October, A Killer Lurking is an online game devised by the charity Electrical Safety First where users find themselves in a typically horror-themed house complete with casually discarded axes, kitchen knives and, appropriately for Halloween, a pumpkin head. However, these are not the killers that the charity wants you to find; instead, users play against the clock to locate the electrical appliances that could be fatal. Get them all right in 30 seconds and users are pointed to the Electrical Safety First online product checker page, where they can find an up-to-date list of electrical recalls, and to the Register My Appliance site of the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances.
In the UK, almost half of all domestic fires originate from electricity, with the majority of those caused by electrical products – freezers and fridges contributed to 61 per cent of accidental house fires started in kitchens between 2013 and 2014. Electrical Safety First wants to encourage consumers to register their products to increase awareness of faulty goods and to improve the recall process. It is working with the AMDEA, which is keen to highlight the problems faced by manufacturers who recall items but might be unable to trace them without registration.
What the charity says
"In the UK, almost half of all domestic fires arise from electricity, and the vast majority of those are caused by electrical products and their misuse", says Phil Buckle, director feneral of Electrical Safety First. "While we have, in general, an excellent safety record in this country, the complexity of the global supply chain and consumers’ reluctance to register their products adversely affects the success of the recall process. We hope this fun approach to a serious issue will raise awareness of the potential dangers of recalled products and the need to register them."
How successful has it been?
The campaign was launched in mid-October, in good time for Halloween, and will run for a month, which also takes it to November’s Electrical Fire Safety Week (10-16 November). If it is particularly successful, the campaign might be extended. So far, A Killer Lurking has reached 3,000 people through Electrical Safety First’s Facebook page, and the charity hopes to reach 320,000 over the month – that’s including paid advertising. The hashtag #killerlurking has yet to gain any real momentum on Twitter but, again, the charity expects it to grow as the campaign continues.
Third Sector verdict
This online game is a simple and fun way of highlighting a serious safety issue and of making consumers aware of product recalls. With Halloween an ever-growing consumer event in the UK, Electrical Safety First might have picked an appropriate time to highlight the issues – so long as it can convince Halloween revellers to look beyond the pumpkins and witches hats.