According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Every year, electrical fires in homes and other properties cause a substantial number of civilian deaths and injuries and significant property damage in the United States.”
Between 2010 and 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 45,210 home fires involving electrical failures and malfunctions a year according to the NFPA. Of those fires, 420 civilians were killed and 1,370 more civilians were injured.
According to the NFPA’s Electrical Fires Fact Sheet:
- 57% of home fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment.
- 19% of the fires involved HVAC equipment.
- 10% of the fires had to do with cords and plugs.
How Do I Prevent Electrical Fires?
Electrical fires are one of the leading causes of home fires in the United States. In light of that, one of the best ways to avoid a home electrical fire is to regularly inspect electrical cords and plugs in your home.
- If you have any plugs or cords that are worn or frayed, discard them right away.
- If you’re thinking about breaking the third prong off a plug to plug it into a two-pronged outlet, DON’T. This is dangerous.
- Replace the two-pronged outlets in your home with three-pronged outlets.
- When unplugging a cord from the outlet, hold it securely. Do not pull on the cord because this wears it out, increasing the chance of an electrical shock, electrical fire, or short circuit.
- Don’t rely heavily on multi-outlet extenders, surge protectors and power bars. If you do, you can overload the circuit.
- Only use extension cords on a temporary basis. If you need the extra length regularly, hire an electrical contractor to install more electrical outlets.
- Do not run electrical cords under rugs and carpets.
- Keep heat, water and space heaters away from electrical cords.
Related: Electrical Issues in Older Homes
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