Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of hundreds of Americans each year and injure thousands more. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded circuits and extension cords.
- Frayed cords are dangerous. Cord insulation keeps electricity in the wires, where it belongs. Regularly check appliance power cords and connections for wear, and don’t use damaged cords.
- Practice extension cord safety. Extension cords are only for temporary use. Never put them under rugs or furniture, as they can overheat or become damaged.
- Don’t mix water and electricity. Electricity flows easily through water. Keep hair dryers, curling irons, electric razors, electric toothbrushes, and other appliances away from water.
- Keep your family safe. Keep flammable items far from light bulbs, heaters, or toasters. Install smoke detectors, keep extinguishers on hand, and have a fire escape plan.
- GFCIs can save your life. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) cut power in time to previous serious shock. Use in bathrooms, garages, near kitchen sinks, and outdoors.
- Keep the holidays happy. Always turn off holiday lights before you leave home. Keep trees, boxes, and wrapping paper away from heat sources.
- Don’t overload outlets. An overloaded outlet is a fire hazard. If yours are overloaded with too many plugs, consider having a qualified electrician install additional outlets.