ELECTRIC SAFETY The use of improper or damaged electric wiring and devices cause fires; safe electrical practices save lives.



According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) electrical distribution equipment malfunctions account for one out of 12 reported home fires and one out of 14 associated deaths. Electrical distribution equipment includes all components of the building’s electrical distribution system as well as light fixtures, lamps, light bulbs, cords and plugs throughout the house.

Wiring, switches, receptacles and outlets were the equipment responsible for ignition in 45% of the reported home structure fires involving electrical distribution equipment. Extension cord fires outnumbered fires beginning with attached or unattached power cords by more than two-to-one.

To help limit the risk of a fire in your home, follow these safety tips:

  • Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • In homes with small children, electrical outlets should be tamperproof devices or have approved safety covers.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Consider plugging only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
  • When possible, avoid the use of "cube taps" and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
  • Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and don’t exceed the lamp's recommended wattage.

The numerous computers and other electronic devices available to consumers can contribute to problems as well. While many of these devices draw relatively low current, attempting to put too many of them on a single extension strip can lead to overheating problems.

Adding numerous electronic devices to the same circuit as other appliances increases the chance of overloading and tripping circuits. If this happens regularly, it is a sign that electrical work is needed.

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