Electrical safety should be on every homeowners mind. U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage. There are plenty of simple things you can do to prevent dangerous situations and keep your family safe.
Things you can do to prevent electrical accidents
Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords. Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets. In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles. Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet. Avoid overloading outlets and power strips. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time and unplug them when not in use. If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician. Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage. Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas. Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets.
Safety in and around your home should be a top priority. While most home inspectors will find blatant errors in the electrical system, it is always a good idea to take it upon yourself to be aware of your homes electrical systems.