During a typical year, home electrical problems account for 28,600 fires and $1.1 billion in property losses. Approximately 53% of residential electrical fires involve electrical wiring issues—incorrectly installed wiring or overloaded circuits and extension cords.
Not surprisingly, December and January are the most dangerous months for electrical fires. Fire deaths are highest in winter months due to increases in lighting, heating, and appliance use during indoor activities. The bedroom is the leading area of fire origin for residential building electrical fires. However, electrical fires that begin in the living room/family room/den areas result in the most deaths.
Following are some simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from electrical fires:
- Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
- Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
- Replace any electrical tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out, or gives off smoke or sparks.
- Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Keep clothes, curtains, and other potentially combustible items at least three feet from all heaters.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Don’t allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons, and hair dryers.
- Use safety closures to “child-proof” electrical outlets.
- Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
- Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are in working order.
Oak Electric Service is one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical contractors. If you are contemplating upgrading your home’s electrical system, give us a call at (800) 964-7070. Be sure to ask about our “Free Electrical Safety Inspection.” We invite you to visit our website at www.oakelectric.com to learn more about us.