Electrical fires can be a serious hazard in any home or workplace, causing damage to property and potentially injuring or killing others. However, there are several steps that you can take to prevent electrical fires from occurring. The leading cause in all house fires is due to electrical issues, closely followed by cooking accidents. The scary part about having an electrical fire be the cause, is that it could happen at any time, even if you are not at home.
The most common causes of electrical fires are due to:
- Faulty Outlets or Appliances- Make sure to never use an appliance with a frayed cord, or a cord that has the grounding prong removed. Some people do this in order to use the plug in a two-pronged-only outlet. This is dangerous and can cause fires to start.
- Light Fixtures- Light fixtures may seem simple and straightforward, however, if a lamp has a shade that is touching a bulb or there is a bulb in the lamp with the incorrect wattage appropriate for the lamp, these are cases when a fire could start and cause fire damage.
- Extension Cords- Make sure to never use an extension cord as a permanent extension. They are meant to be temporary.
- Space Heaters- Space heaters heat up very quickly and become hot. People also tend to keep them on the ground or close to other objects that are possibly flammable such as clothes or curtains. If these flammable materials touch the coils or the hot heater, they can instantly combust. Make sure to keep the space heater a good distance away from other objects.
- Wiring- Old and outdated wiring is often the cause of house fires. Old wiring can not keep up with new appliances and technology overload of today’s advancements.
Here is what you can do to actively prevent an electrical fire from happening in your home.
- Regularly inspect your electrical wiring and outlets. Look for any signs of wear or damage, such as frayed wires, loose connections, or overheating. If you notice any issues, have them repaired or replaced by a licensed electrician.
- Use only certified electrical products and appliances. These products have been tested and approved by safety organizations and are less likely to cause a fire.
- Avoid overloading outlets and circuit breakers. This occurs when you plug in too many devices or appliances into one outlet or the same circuit at one time, causing it to overheat and potentially start a fire.
- Use surge protectors to protect your devices and appliances from power surges. These devices can help prevent electrical fires caused by power fluctuations.
- Keep flammable materials away from electrical sources. This includes items such as curtains, furniture, and paper products, which can easily catch fire if they come into contact with an electrical source.
- Have your home’s electrical system inspected and updated, if needed, by a licensed electrician. This can help ensure that your home’s wiring and other electrical components are up to code and safe to use. If your place of residence or workplace is older than 50 years, and the wiring has not been upgraded, it is important to make sure that is done. Old wires and wiring systems cannot handle the newer technology and appliances that we use today.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and test smoke alarms in your home. Make sure you understand how to properly use them in case of emergencies.
By following these steps, you can help prevent electrical fires and fire damage to keep your home or workplace safe. Remember, if you ever suspect an electrical problem, call a licensed electrician immediately to have it inspected and repaired.