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Steps You Can Take Now to Prevent an Electrical Fire

Generating and harnessing electricity is one of humanity’s greatest achievements, but it doesn’t come without some danger if users aren’t careful.

Homeowners ignore the risks of electric fire at their peril. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to an average of 45,210 home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction between 2010 and 2014. These fires caused annual averages of 420 civilian deaths, 1,370 civilian injuries and $1.4 billion in direct property damage.

The bedroom was the leading area of origin with 22% of the total home fires. These fires involved lamps, light fixtures and bulbs. Extension cords account for the greatest share of home fires involving cords or plugs, with 57% of the fire total, according to the association.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take now to prevent an electrical fire.

Consider these steps you can take indoors:

  • Learn to watch for signs of fire potential. For example, discolored or warm outlets and sparks are warning signs. Flickering or dimming lights, frequently blowing fuses and a burning smell may also indicate fire hazards.
  • Use only one heat-producing appliance such as a toaster or coffee maker from one outlet.
  • Do not use extension cords for major appliances such as microwave ovens, refrigerators and stoves.
  • Discuss installing arc-fault circuit interrupters with your professional electrician. They shut off electricity when dangerous conditions occur.
  • Use ground-fault interrupters in rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens to prevent shocks.
  • Fires don’t need flames to ignite. For example, a hot light bulb near paper or an extension cord strung out under a carpet can produce enough heat to start a fire in flammable material.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or appliance. There should be a sticker that tells you the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Consider these steps you can take outdoors:

  • Use lighting and power tools that are made for outdoor use.
  • Check lighting and extension cords for damage before you use them. Replace any damaged cords immediately.
  • Use extension cords marked as appropriate for outdoor use and never use them as a long-term solution.
  • Be extra careful around power lines. Use a wood or fiberglass ladder outside and keep any ladder at least 10 feet away from a power line.

When you need electric repairs done inside or outside your home, be sure to hire a qualified electrical contractor. Do-it-yourself home repair television shows may make such repairs appear simple, but they can be fraught with danger.

Start with a safety inspection of your home by a qualified electrician. A professional can spot fire hazards and make recommendations to keep you and your family safe. Studies by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission have found that the majority of serious fires would not have occurred if an inspection had been performed.

Empowered Global can help you identify the steps you can take now to prevent an electrical fire. Call us at 239-970-8267 to schedule a service appointment to discuss your needs.

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