A SENIOR firefighter has warned of the consequences of a social media craze - which he says could see people losing their lives.

The Penny Challenge has been circulating on social media, which sees people put coins into live plug sockets.

It sees people trying to either insert a coin into the live socket or place a coin on top of a piece of live electrical equipment.

The effect is an electric shock, which the fire service says could have devastating consequences.

“I know you can lose fingers, hands, arms,” explained Michael Clusker, station manager at Carlisle East fire station.

“The outcome from this is that someone will get seriously hurt.

“Every year there are numbers of people killed by electrical shocks. It can kill you if it gets you right.

“Anything that interferes with electrical equipment - unless you are a qualified electrician - is very dangerous.”

This is not the first time a social media craze has been in the minds of Cumbrian firefighters.

“We did have a number of people becoming trapped in play equipment across the area,” Mr Clusker continued.

“People posted videos of people getting into child swings and getting trapped after viewing the videos.”

Social media plays a part, according to the firefighter.

“I do think social media is an issue, giving people ideas that are probably not ideal.

“People should take responsibility for their own actions. When emergency services do attend these incidents, it does taker up vital resources that should be available for other emergencies.”

The consequences of taking risks like this can be as serious as taking risks while driving.

“People take risks. Some in vehicles, driving recklessly,” said Mr Clusker. “You could get a similar outcome as someone who messes with a switch.”

Dealing with electrics is even out of bounds for firefighters sometimes.

He explained: “We do occasionally [attend electrical-related fires]. The majority are due to faulty equipment setting fire.

“When we respond to calls involving faulty electrical equipment we will, if safe, isolate the apparatus.

“If we are in any doubt, we call in the engineers.”

The senior firefighter suggests peer pressure can play a part in instances like this.

“In my 25 years in the job I have seen the consequences of people overstepping the mark (when it comes to showing off).”

Mr Clusker is urging people to think twice: “We would encourage people not to mimic or copy some of the reckless stunts that are commonly viewed on social media.”