The USFA or United States Fire Administration reports 28,600 (more of less) electrical fires every year. These incidents have caused damage to property amounting to $1.1 billion, 310 deaths, and about 1,100 injuries. There are many known causes of an electrical fire that spurred these dangerous occurrences. January and December are the two months with the most electrical fires because these are the very months when heating appliances and lighting are used – and even overused.
The majority of electrical fires begin in the bedroom where the homeowners are usually asleep when the accidents happen. A higher number of fatalities occur in dens and living rooms, though.
A few electrical fires are caused by residential wiring problems and even appliance failures. The majority occur due to homeowners’ mistakes such as overloading extension cords and electrical outlets.
As numerous as the causes of electrical fire are, there are equally many preventive methods that you can learn in order to keep them at bay. If you truly love your family – and yourself – you should take time to ascertain that you do not become yet another number on the yearly statistics.
The majority of electrical fires happen because of faulty outlets, even outdated ones. Old appliances can also easily cause such incidents. Other fires can be started by appliance cord faults, or switch and receptacle faults.
Since this is so, you must refrain from using outdated appliances, frayed cords, old receptacles, and just about any obsolete electrical stuff. Remember that heat can easily cause fire where combustible surfaces are present such as curtains, wooden floors, rugs, and carpets.
Another way to prevent electrical fire is to not run cords under carpets and rugs. Be sure not to remove a cord’s grounding plug so that you can use it on a two-prong outlet. Doing this is highly dangerous since it can also cause a fire. Appliances have an extra prong only because they should be used in outlets that are able to handle the extra amount of electrical current that such appliances draw.
Other reasons for electrical fires include improper use of light bulbs, lamps, and lighting fixtures. For instance, the installation of a low-watt bulb onto a fixture can instantly cause an accident. Vice versa, if the bulb requires a high wattage and the lighting fixture is not able to provide ample electricity, then over time, an electrical fire could also easily occur.
To prevent fires due to burnt out or busted bulbs, make sure that you read the correct wattage requirements.
One other cause of the electrical fire is any paper or cloth that is placed over lampshades. Remember that these are combustible materials so you have to keep them away from the lamp.
Misusing extension cords is also a no-no. An appliance must be plugged directly into electrical outlets and not into an extension cord. Approved use of an extension cord is when you need to have a temporary means of reaching the outlet. Keep in mind that you must not make the extension cord a permanent means of electrical provision. Ask the help of an electrician in the installation of additional outlets in your home.
Since space heaters are major causes of electrical fires in the country, it is important that you practice caution in using them especially portable ones. Portable space heaters are sometimes placed too close to combustible materials such as beds, clothing, rugs, couches, and chairs; hence, the a higher risk of an electrical fire.
Coil space heaters are more dangerous than conventional ones since they can become hot almost instantly and they can easily ignite a nearby flammable material. For extra safety, use the radiator type which can diffuse heat over a huge surface.
Outdated wiring, overloaded circuits, and many more are causes of an electrical fire. Have an electrician check your entire home so that you can find probable risks.