Weekly Feature

2015-09-10 / Editorial

Protect your home from electrical fires

Bee Editorial

Electrical fires continue to be a leading cause of home fires, according to a new report from the National Fire Protection Association, so it is never too late to take simple precautions.

“Electricity literally runs modern lifestyles by powering the amenities that so many of us depend on day to day, so fire safety is something to keep in mind whenever electricity is being used,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communications. “There are lots of simple things each of us can do to prevent electrical fires, like keeping lighting fixtures and light bulbs away from things that can burn and never using extension cords to plug in major appliances.”

According to the report, in 2007, electrical failure or malfunction was a factor contributing to ignition in an estimated 51,800 reported home structure fires. Of the 2003-07 home electrical fires, 46 percent involved some type of electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Other leading types of equipment involved in the ignition of electrical fires were washers and dryers, fans, air conditioning equipment, space heaters, water heaters and ranges.

Six percent of 2003-07 home structure fires involved electrical distribution or lighting as equipment involved in ignition, making it the fourth major cause of home structure fires, following cooking equipment, heating equipment and arson.

Here are some safety tips anyone can use:

• Work on home electrical distribution or lighting equipment should be conducted only by a qualified electrician.

• When buying, selling or remodeling a home, have it inspected by a professional electrician.

• Keep lamps, light fixtures and light bulbs away from anything that can burn, including lamp shades, furniture, bedding, curtains, clothing, and flammable or combustible gases and liquids.

• Major appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.

• Replace cracked, damaged and loose electrical cords.

• Extension cords are for temporary use only. Have a licensed electrician determine if additional circuits or outlets are needed.

• Consider having a qualified electrician install arc fault circuit interrupters in your home. This is a type of circuit breaker that shuts off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs.

To learn more about electrical safety, visit http:// www.nfpa.org/ electricalsafetymonth.

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