Wake Forest, NC— According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are approximately 28,600 home electrical fires each year. Winter months are the most dangerous for electrical fires because indoor activities require additional lighting, heating and appliance use.
Most electrical fires are the result of faulty outlets and old electrical systems, but cords, plugs, receptacles, switches, light fixtures and bulbs are also likely causes. The bedroom is the leading area for electrical fire origin.
Routinely follow these safety precautions in order to avoid an electrical fire in your home:
– Check electrical appliances and wiring often.
– Replace all worn, old or damaged cords immediately.
– Replace any electrical tool or appliance if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks. This is a sign that the tool is faulty and could cause a fire.
– Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and wet counters.
– Make sure to only buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
– Keep clothes, curtains and any other potentially combustible items and liquids at least three feet from all heaters.
– Never force a three-prong plug into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
– Do not allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons or hair dryers.
– Use electrical extension cords wisely being careful not to overload sockets or cords.
– Never run electrical cords under rugs.
If an electrical fire does occur in your home, remember to NEVER use water to put it out. By the time you see smoke coming out of the outlet, a fire has most likely already begun and is spreading within the walls and up to the attic. Always have a class ABC fire extinguisher, which uses dry chemicals to put out fires, ready for this type of situation.
If it is safe to do so, turn off all power in the house, exit and call 911 be sure to tell them it is an electrical fire. After having an electrical fire, call a certified electrician to determine what needs to be replaced or what you can do to avoid another occurrence.