Did you know that electrical fires claim the lives of over 280 Americans a year and cause injury
to a 1,000 or more people?? Many of these fires are caused by electrical system failures, but even more are caused by incorrectly
installed wiring and overloaded circuits and extension cords.
Home electrical fires during a typical year account for 26,100 fires and $ 1 billion in property loss. About half of those residential
electrical fires involve electrical wiring.
The most dangerous months for electrical fires are December/January . Fire deaths are at there highest in the winter months because
of more indoor activities and the increase in lighting, heating and appliance use. The bedroom is the most common area for most residential electrical fires. However if the electrical fire begins in the living room/family room/den those areas result in the most deaths.
Most causes of electrical fires result in problems with “fixed wiring” such as old wiring and faulty outlets. Electrical cords ( extension or appliance cords), plugs, receptacles, and switches can also be the cause to many home electrical fires. Light fixtures and lamp/light bulbs are also a leading cause of electrical fires. Misuse of electrical cords are the cause to many fires, overloading circuits, poor maintenance, and running the cords under rugs or in high traffic areas that increase the risk of a fire hazard.
There are many Safety Precautions that may be taken to decrease the risk of an electrical fire.
– Check your electrical appliances and wiring. Replace worn, damaged or old appliance cords. Do not try to fix them.
– Major and small appliances should be directly plugged into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord. Unplug small appliances
when not in use.
– If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three slot, grounded outlet.
– Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection.
– Surge protectors also protect your home from powerful lightening storms.
– Keep clothes, curtains and other items that can catch fire at least three feet from all portable electric space heaters.
– Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture.
– Extension cords are for temporary use only.
– Electrical work should be done by a qualified electrician. Call an electrician if you have any of the following:
– Recurring problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers.
– A tingling feeling when you touch an appliance
– Discolored or warm wall outlets or switches.
– A burning smell or rubbery odor coming from an appliance.
– Flickering lights.
– Sparks from a wall outlet.