In the US, roughly ten thousand home fires per year involve electrical failure or malfunction. Between 2007 and 2011, electricity-related fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths and $1.5 billion in direct property damage. While there’s no way to completely fire-proof your home, there are some simple, easy ways to improve your safety. These basic electrical safety tips can help reduce your risk of electrical fires:
- Avoid overloading outlets by only plugging one high-wattage appliance into each outlet at a time.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from flammable objects.
- Use light bulbs appropriate for your devices’ recommended wattage.
- Give your appliances adequate breathing space so as not to overheat.
- Replace appliances with damaged electrical connections such as frayed cords, cracked housings, or broken plugs.
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
- Particularly in homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
- Never use electrical appliances near/on wet areas.
- Check and follow manufacturer’s instructions for plugging each appliance into an outlet.
- Call a qualified electrician if outlets or switches frequently feel warm, have problems with blowing fuses/tripping circuits, or flickering/dimming lights.
- If you’re digging on your property, make sure you don’t hit underground cables by contacting local authorities beforehand.
- Stay safe near power lines by keeping ladders and poles away from overhead wires. Keep plants and trees trimmed away from power lines as well.
For a great interactive graphic for kids, click here.