According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical fires were involved in an average of 47,820 reported home structure fires from 2007–2011. Almost half (48 percent) of home structure electrical fires involve some type of electrical distribution equipment, such as wiring, outlets, switches, lamps, light bulbs, cords or plugs. Not only are electrical fires dangerous, but the good news is that they are also preventable.
The following expert tips can help identify a potential fire hazard and help prevent an electrical fire in your home or business:
Inspect your electrical wiring: Have your electric wiring checked to prevent electrical fires. Wiring does not last forever, so it is a good idea to have your wiring checked if your home is more than 10 years old.
Check and replace any old wiring: If a power cord or your home’s wiring is frayed, worn out or tattered, consider either repairing the wiring or completely replacing it to prevent an electrical fire.
Check the plugs on electrical appliances: Like wiring, plugs can fray and rip. Broken plugs are not only a shock hazard, but they can also spark or overheat, causing an electrical fire.
Don’t overload your home’s electrical outlets: A home’s electrical circuits can only provide so much electricity to each outlet at one time. When overloading an outlet, you can cause the outlet to spark and potentially start an electrical fire.
Keep flammable materials away: Electrical appliances or outlets that come into contact with flammable materials, such as a blanket, the rug or even cleaning supplies, may trigger a fire.
Use surge protectors: Surge protectors help protect appliances and anything else plugged into an outlet from dangers posed by a power surge. A power surge can increase the amount of electricity flowing to your outlet and overload the outlet, causing the appliance to spark. A surge protector will help prevent this potential fire hazard.
Be wary of those problematic appliances: If an appliance blows a fuse, trips a circuit, or sparks while being used, unplug the appliance immediately, and check to see if it needs to be repaired or replaced.