Each year, electrical failures and malfunctions cause 43,900 home fires, resulting in 438 deaths, 1,430 injuries, and $1.47 billion in property damage. But many home electrical fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and following safe practices.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have teamed up to offer safety tips to help protect your home and family:
Safety should always be the top priority when working with electricity.
- Keep the area around the electrical panel clear so you can easily shut off power in an emergency.
- Every month, use the TEST button to check that ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) at outlets and AFCIs are working properly.
- Be mindful of warning signs of an electrical problem, such as outlets and switches that are warm or make crackling, sizzling, or buzzing noises.
- Regularly check cords, outlets, switches, and appliances for signs of damage. Do not use damaged electrical devices.
- Do not use extension cords on a permanent basis, and never use them with space heaters or air conditioners.
- Avoid overloading outlets.
- Do not use lightbulbs that exceed the recommended wattage of the light fixture or lamp.
- Have your meter base inspected for lose connections, corrosion and wiring issues resulting from exposure to the elements. (KREMC is only responsible for the meter itself not the contents of the meter box)
Despite your best efforts at prevention, a fire could still happen. Follow these tips to make sure your family is prepared to make a safe escape:
- Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home.
- Test smoke alarms every month by pushing the TEST button.
- Create a family fire escape plan that includes two ways out of each room.
- Practice your escape plan by having at least two fire drills a year. One fire drill should be at night while your family is sleeping.
Visit www.esfi.org for more home electrical safety information.
Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International