According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 5,300 fires were caused by some type of electrical malfunction. This number can dramatically drop by learning of ways to prevent electrical fires and keep everyone safe and sound. Obviously, the most important preventative step is to make sure your smoke detectors are working properly, and that you have them installed throughout your residence or business. In fact, 65% of home fire deaths result from residences with no working smoke detectors according to the CPSC. The following provides some guidelines to prevent electric fires from igniting in your residence or place of business.
One of the most important preventative steps to take is to check your wiring. Wiring has a lifespan of 30-40 years and even less than that if your building uses aluminum wiring. Some signs to look for that could indicate that your wiring is old or outdated is if your circuit breaker trips often, if your fuses frequently blow, or if you are utilizing too many extension cords or surge protectors throughout your home. If any of these factors are typical in your household, it is imperative that you call a professional to check the wiring to see if it needs to be replaced.
An arc fault is a leading cause of electrical fires. An arc fault results when there is a high-power discharge between two or more conductors, thus resulting in producing heat that can lead to a fire. These commonly result from a loose connection in an outlet. So, to take a preventative step, a good place to start is to check all your outlets at least once a year. An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (ACFI) is a device used to detect arc faults and is most definitely a great way to prevent electrical fires due to an arc fault.
Lastly, the following are some easy steps you can take to prevent an electrical fire from starting in your home or business.
Replace any cracked, damaged, or loose electrical cords.
Plug major or small appliances directly into the wall instead of an extension cord.
Keep any flammable material away from outlets, so they do not trigger a fire.
Replace any wall outlets that do not fit snugly into the wall.
Use power strips and surge protectors that are labeled by a recognized testing laboratory.