Fire service warns Cambridgeshire homeowners against bogus solar panel claims


- Credit: Archant

Firefighters have warned householders to be vigilant over bogus claims that fitting solar panels could stop fire crews tackling a blaze.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said it was understood that at least one firm was contacting potential customers and advising them that they needed to fit a “kill switch” to disconnect solar panels because firefighters would not attempt to fight a fire at the property if there was a risk of electrocution.

The fire service, which has been working with Trading Standards officials, said this was “completely incorrect”.

Emma Massey, a fire protection officer, 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.”

She said: “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.” Peter Gell, head of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards, said: “Beware of cold callers both on the telephone and at the door.

“We advise customers to get at least three written quotations and to carry out their own research into the product or service offered.”

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He said: “Nobody should feel pressured into spending thousands of pounds on something 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 0345 404 0506.”

The fire service said that firms in other parts of the country had made false claims that fire services would not attend fires involving old solar panels, encouraging them to buy new ones.

It urged anyone contacted by businesses making similar suggestions to contact Trading Standards.