More than 40,000 electrical fires occur in homes every year, resulting in hundreds of deaths, 1,000 plus injuries and more than a billion dollars in property damage.Electrical fires can be devastating and lethal as quite often they occur when we least expect them and in locations that may be hidden from view. There are steps a homeowner can take to be pro-active when it comes to protecting your family from these seemingly hidden source of fire.
Connected Cord Inspections
When plugging and unplugging various appliances found in your home, take time to inspect the cords.Look for any signs of damage due tower and tear. Sometimes plugs can be smashed between furniture and the wall, weakening the conductor insulation.Cords can also be damaged through abuse by improperly removing them from the receptacle outlet, being stepped on, or placed under the legs of chair or other tpes of furniture.
Look through your home for locations where extension cords are not being used properly like being run under neath carpets or area rugs. These cords are not designed as permanent wiring for appliances in your home and you may be exceeding the ratings of these products. When you misapply electrical products in this manner, the heat that may be generated and/or arcing and sparking that result could start a fire.Electrical ratings of the product should be reviewed to ensurethe cord is sized properly for the application
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter Protection
Updating the circuit breakers in your home from standard breakers to those that are designed to detect arcing and sparking that may cause electrical fires provides that additional level of protection against arcing faults.Many new homes may have these advanced arc fault circuit interrupters in place but even new homes will have opportunities to increase the level of protection.See additional information in the box onhow to determine if your circuit breakers are Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters .
When using your appliances, look for signs of damage. Ensure you are using the appliance in the manner it was intended to be used. Consult the manufacturer if needed.
Hire a Professional
It is always best to hire an electrical contractor to help you perform a safety check in your home. Hiring a professional who is trained on the equipment in electrical safety is a good start to help protect your safety as well as that of your family
Always look for the label of a nationally recognized testing laboratory (e.g. UL) to be certain that your products comply with requirements of national safety standards