lectrical fires are dangerous and one of the leading causes of house fires in the US. The great news about this - is that electrical fires are often preventable. Here are a few things that you can do to prevent an electrical fire in your home
  • Start with keeping heat-producing appliances unplugged when not in use. A lot of times what starts a fire is when a heat generating appliance is accidentally left on, or begins to malfunction.  Over a period of time, this can cause the appliance to catch fire and begin a home fire.  It is safest to unplug items like kettles, curling irons, toasters, irons, hair dryers and small space heaters.
  • Extension cords should be used as temporary solutions only. As much as it can feel like a lot of work, your home safety is important.  Should you need additional permanent power sources in your home, we suggest contacting an electrician and having more outlets installed.  Another safety tip is to never cut off the third prong on a power cord. The third prong is there to protect you in the event of a power surge or other electrical malfunction. Again, should your home be older and only has two-prong outlets, consider having an electrician inspect your home’s electrical system
  • Updating your home’s electrical system – is your home older than 1970?  You may have the older Knob-and-tube wiring, aluminum wiring, and 60-amp electrical systems>. These systems were known to have a greater risk of overheating. Be sure to price what it would cost to have  100 amps upgrade and wiring in order to reduce your chances of an electrical fire.  An additional benefit to updating your electrical is that many insurance companies will give discounts for newer wiring (less risk).
  • Damaged cord?  Don’t plug it in!  If you notice that a power cord is loose, cracked or frayed – then you should have it repaired before plugging it in. Be wise and read the directions for new appliances, take note of any warnings or directions that could help prevent an electrical malfunction.  Check for signs that may indicate that an appliance is overheating or that there is a problem with an electrical socket:
    • Any discoloration, or burn marks around the socket, or switch.
    • Does the cord feel hot to the touch, or the appliance itself (in areas where it should be cool).
    • Is there a burning smell when an item is plugged in or in use
    • Are there any electrical sparks when you plug in a deviceY
    • Do you feel any electricity when plugging in the cord?

If you ever notice one these signs, stop using the outlet or device in question and contact an electrician right away.

These are just some of the steps you can take to help prevent electrical fires in your home.

Even with all this effort, fires can start in homes and our goal is to keep you safe.  So have your evacuation plan ready and visible, have your home get one of our free home safety checks, and be safe!