Common Causes of Electrical Fires and the Best Preventive Measures

According to the USFA (US Fire Administration), 364,500 fires causing 2,450 deaths, 13,900 injuries, and over $6 billion in property damages were reported during 2011.

Because of the heating devices, lighting, and electrical appliances, most fires occur during winter months.

Most fires occur in residential buildings.

Most of all, the causes for fires include flawed electrical wiring, overuse of extension cords, failure of appliances, and overloading of electrical sockets.

To prevent the risk of fire and protect yourself and your loved ones, we will cover the most common reasons for electrical fires, and what you should do to protect your family, possessions, and building.

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Old Electrical Sockets and Unsafe Appliances

Old and overused appliances, as well as those not up to modern safety standards, can be the worst.

Worn out sockets, frayed electrical cords, and self-jointed wires can cause major fires, especially if not grounded properly.

They can direct heat and fire to curtains, rugs, carpets and combustible plastic.

Older appliances can draw more power than the sockets can handle.

Prevention Tips

  • Check the electrical appliances frequently, and inspect plugs and cords.
  • Replace damaged cords as soon as you detect them, and don’t attempt to repair them yourself.
  • Buy appliances made of quality materials and up to approved standards.
  • Install surge protectors and ground fault circuit interrupters to guard major appliances, and make sure to only use power strips and protectors authorized by the testing labs.

Using Light Fixtures that Exceed the Permissible Wattage

Commonly fires can be caused by plugging lights, lighting bulbs, and appliances into sockets that can’t handle high levels of wattage.

Antique lighting appliances’ wiring can be defective, which makes them unstable by overheating.

Decorating lights with cloth shades and colored paper can also increase the chance of fire if the fabric or material heats up.

Prevention Tip

Make sure that all lighting devices and light bulbs are plugged into sockets that match prescribed wattage.

Try not to use extension cords for lighting.

Using Multiple Appliances Plugged into an Extension Cord

Another major fire hazard is unrestricted use of extension cords.

The risk of fire can increase if your computer, home theater, TV, and other appliances are plugged into a single extension cord.

In this case, the power load on one socket is excessive, which may not be designed for that much load.

Recently, Classes at Middle School and East Pennsboro Elementary school were canceled due to power outage because of damaged wiring.

So, there is also social and economic damage involves.

Prevention Tip

Hire an electrician to install outlets that match appliances you use regularly.

Don’t plug appliances into multi-socket extension cords.

It is best to avoid using multiple extension cords at the same time.

Locating Portable Heaters Near Combustible Materials

Portable space heaters using coils can also be hazardous if they are positioned near rugs or curtain as well as beds or cloth-covered furniture.

The risk of fire can be increased if inflammable material comes in contact with red-hot coils.

Prevention Tip

Ensure that inflammable materials are far from portable heaters.

Yet it’s better to use radiation heaters that won’t catch on fire on direct contact.

Wiring that Becomes Defective with the Passage of Time

Over time, you may get more appliances such as home theaters, wide-screen TVs, fridge, microwave oven, or air conditioner.

Older home wiring may not be capable of handling the increased load of power.

It can heat up quickly and catch on fire.

If breaker boxes are defective, they can’t stop overheated electrical panels from catching on fire.

Prevention Tip

Have an electrician check your home.

If any defective wiring is detected, replace it immediately.

That way you will eliminate the biggest threat to an electrical fire that your home can be exposed to.

Landscaping gardens or redecorating bedrooms are essential for enhancing the aesthetics of your home.

The safety and security of your home, though, are more important.

You should find an expert to conduct an electrical safety checking of your wiring, wall outlets, and external power panels.

Install quality smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to boost your chances of survival during an electrical fire.

It will help you save lives and minimize damage.

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