how to prevent electrical fires

How to Prevent Electrical Fires

Tips on Preventing an Electrical Fire For Your Home

In the United States alone, house fires kill hundreds of people each year. Many things can cause these fatal fires including lightning strikes, smoldering cigarettes, cooking accidents, electrical appliance and wiring mishaps. When the cause is electrical, sometimes it is due to factors beyond the homeowners control, such as a defective appliance. However, many times the cause is narrowed to a misuse of power cords, appliances or failure to maintain equipment. In this case, these fires can be preventable, here are some tips on how to prevent electrical fires.

Common Electrical Fire Risks

  • Old wiring: House wiring has changed through the years and some old houses may have wiring that is damaged or simply cannot handle the extra electrical load of modern appliances.
  • Overloading: Overloading a power cord or socket by plugging in too many electrical items can cause dangerous sparking or overheating.
  • Damaged power cords: Frayed or otherwise damaged extension cords and appliance cords pose a fire risk.
  • Electric stoves: These appliances are involved in over half of all fires caused by home appliances. Cooking accidents, such as splattered grease or something forgotten and left on a hot burner, rather than electrical problems, causes most stove-related fires.

Electric stoves and fixed-heaters or portable heaters cause the most electrical fire fatalities and are to blame for a significant number of fire-related injuries in the home.

Preventing Electrical Risks of a House Fire

Purchase New Appliances Only From Established Manufacturers
Check extension cords and appliance cords frequently for damage. Never use cords that appear burnt, frayed, sliced or otherwise damaged.

Have Your Homes Wiring Checked by a Certified Electrician
Follow all precautions listed in your appliances manuals. This includes avoiding operating electrical items in wet or damp areas, keeping appliances clean, providing sufficient clearance behind large appliances, such as refrigerators, stoves and clothes dryers, and keeping cords away from heat and moisture.

Never Modify Cords or Plugs to Fit into an Outlet
Do not ignore electrical warning signs, such as flickering lights and warm switches  Be sure to also replace any electrical item that develops signs of a short, such as producing a burning odor, sparking, smoking or producing a shock.

Install Smoke Detectors Throughout Your Home
Follow the factory directions regarding proper placement.

Purchase Multiple Fire Extinguishers
Place them throughout your home for easy access in case of a house fire like near the kitchen, laundry room or garage. Be sure to check expiration dates and replace when needed.

Keep Children and Pets Away From Power Cords, Stoves and Other Electrical Items
Be sure to always cover unused outlets with safety covers designed for this.

Keep Your Homeowners Insurance Updated
After so many years of being in the fire restoration industry, I have found that some accidents are just not preventable. Keep some peace of mind by making sure your homeowners insurance is updated.