According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical fires in the United States, start more than 28,000 home fires, killing and injuring hundreds of people, and causing over $700 million in property damage.
According to an NFPA 2012-2016 study, electrical failures or malfunctions were the second leading cause of U.S. home fires (behind fires caused by unattended equipment), accounting for 13% of home structure fires. Fires involving electrical failures or malfunctions accounted for the highest share of civilian deaths (18%) and direct property damage (20%). Electrical arcing was the heat source in approximately three of five home fires involving an electrical failure or malfunction. Approximately one-quarter (24%) of these fires occurred between midnight and 8 a.m., but these fires accounted for 60% of deaths.
For this reason, Oakland Park Fire Rescue encourages residents to check any extension cords or power strips for fraying or tearing. These potential hazards can arc at any moment and ignite nearby combustibles such as carpet, wallpaper, drapes, or other fabrics.
It’s important to check for these hazards before to prevent fires from occurring.
10 Things You Should Do to Keep Electrical Safety at Home
1. Check electrical cords often. Replace cracked, damaged, and loose electrical or extension cords. Do not try to repair them.
2. Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched by furniture, under rugs and carpets, or across doorways. Not only will this cause a trip and fall hazard, but if a cord is covered by a rug it cannot dissipate heat and can cause a fire.
3. Extension cords are for temporary use only. Have a qualified electrician determine if additional circuits or wall outlets are needed.
4. Replace wall outlets. If plugs do not fit snugly or the wall outlet does not accept plugs with one blade larger than the other, this can cause an arc hazard.
5. Test and maintain smoke alarms in the home. Remember: “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep”. Alarms in the bedrooms and an alarm outside the sleeping areas, all interconnected so as to when one alarm activates the remainder activate as well.
By following these simple precautions it is possible to prevent fires in your home and the homes of the ones you love.
Stay tuned for our Fire Safety Column for more tips on how to prevent fires and stay safe.