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10 Fire Safety Tips for Kids & Adults

According the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), residential electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage. The numbers nearly double during the busy holiday season. Being well-informed about electrical fires can help you and your family prevent any injuries and damages. Examples of electrical fires include: an improperly wired chandelier, overloaded outlets, faulty or frayed wires, and more.

Lets Take Out Electrical Fires Safety Header

What Causes Electrical Fires?

Nearly half of all home electrical fires are caused by electrical failures or malfunctions such as:

  1. Faulty electrical outlets and outdated appliances
  2. Light bulbs that exceed the recommended fixture wattage
  3. Damaged or misused extension cords
  4. Dirty or poorly positioned space heaters
  5. Outdated wiring

Twenty percent of home structure fires include lighting equipment such as lamps, flush mount lights, and light bulbs while six percent include ceiling fans.

 

We interviewed Christian, a local Fire Driver Engineer in Daytona Beach, FL, to learn more about electrical fires and how to prevent them. Christian suggested the following tips:

  • Develop an evacuation plan so you and your family know what to do in the event of a fire
  • Change the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year (Tip: At the beginning and end of Daylight Savings)
  • If you smell something in your house, don't hesitate to call 911
  • Contact your local fire department and ask them to conduct a fire safety check on your home
  • Never play with matches!
10 Fire Safety Tips for Kids & Adults

We've compiled 10 potential scenarios and solutions for residential electrical fires. You can review these scenarios with your family and friends to ensure their safety and well-being in the event of an actual fire.

 

1. Ceiling Fans

Cause: Dirty or overheated ceiling fans

Solution: Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. So, turn off the ceiling fan when you leave the room. Keep your luxury ceiling fan clean, especially around the vents, to prevent flammable build up from accumulating.

Keep Ceiling Fans Clean To Prevent Fires

2. Light Bulbs

Cause: Using light bulbs with a higher wattage than is recommended on the light fixture

Solution: Avoid using light bulbs that exceed the manufacturer's recommended wattage.

Keep Light Bulb Within The Manufacturers Recommended Watts To Avoid Fires

3. Appliance Rating

Cause: Unregulated appliances or using appliances in ways not intended by the manufacturer

Solution: Purchase appliances that are approved by testing labs such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), Intertek Testing Services (ETL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and Conformance Europenan (CE). Avoid using appliances in ways not intended by the manufacturer such as using a dry-rated light fixture in a wet environment.

Be Sure To Purchase Appliances Approved By Certified Testing Labs

4. Electrical Plugs

Cause: Loose electrical plugs or incompatible electrical plugs

Solution: Verify plugs are compatible with the sockets and that they're fully inserted into the sockets.

Ensure All Plugs Are Completely Inserted In The Socket To Avoid Fires

5. Flammable Objects 

Cause: Placing electrical connections near flammable objects

Solution: Avoid using lamps, exposed light bulbs, pendant lights or space heaters near flammable objects such as curtains, papers, rugs, bedding or furniture. Halogen bulbs have a higher risk of fire than incandescent bulbs, which have a higher risk than fluorescent bulbs.

Avoid Using Lamps Near Flammable Objects

6. Overloaded Outlets

Cause: Connecting too many electrical plugs or extension cords into one outlet

Solution: Avoid plugging more than two appliances into an outlet. Large appliances such as refrigerators, dryers, washers, and stoves should be plugged directly into their own outlet. Do not exceed 1,500 watts for each outlet or circuit.

Older Homes Usually Have Outdated Wiring That Can Be Overloaded

7. Damaged Electrical Cords

Cause: Running electrical cords under rugs or through doors, which can damage and expose the wiring

Solution: Avoid using cords under rugs or through doors, which can damage and expose the wires over time. Secure cords in place with duct tape.

Avoid Using Cords Through Doors Or Walk Areas

8. Uncapped Live Wires

Cause: Poor wire connections or uncapped live wires

Solution: When installing a new ceiling fan, indoor wall light, or outdoor wall light, make sure all the wires are connected and capped with wire nuts before turning the breaker back on. Do not leave any wires loose, even they are not live.

Make Sure To Install And Cap All Wires When Installing Appliances

9. Broken or Frayed Wires

Cause: Using frayed, exposed or broken wires

Solution: Replace appliances with broken, exposed or frayed wires or broken plug prongs immediately. Do not try to fix these on your own!

Replace Broken Or Exposed Wires As Soon As Possible, Don't Try To Repair Them

10. Circut Overload

Cause: Outdated wiring

Solution: If your home is more than 20 years old, the wiring may be outdated and unable to handle all the demands of modern appliances. Have an electrician come to your home and inspect the wiring to ensure it's safe.

Avoid Plugging More Than Two Appliances Into An Outlet

In Case of an Electrical Fire

It's important to have a plan in place in the event of an electrical fire. Here are some simple guidelines to follow in the event of a fire:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Alert household members of the fire and evacuate the home if the fire is uncontrollable.
  • Do not use water to extinguish the fire. Water conducts electricity and can cause you to experience an electric shock.
  • If possible, interrupt the service breaker to cease electricity.
  • Use a Class C fire extinguisher, which is suitable for live electrical equipment and has nonconductive properties.

Class C Fire Extinguishers Should Be Used For Electrical Fires

  • If you're unable to exit your home, get on the floor and cover your mouth until help arrives.
3 Superhero Fire Safety Tips for Kids

Here are some fun rhymes to teach kids about fire safety:

 

1. Touching wires can create fires

Never touch or play with any electrical wires, outlets or extension cords. It's very dangerous, and could hurt you and your family.

 

2. If your see a wire is broken, don't leave it unspoken

Tell an adult if you see any frayed or broken electrical wires so they can safely replace them.

 

3. Don't hide, go outside

If you encounter a fire, don't hide. Be a superhero and follow your family's fire safety plan to exit your home as fast as you can. Notify the nearest adult as soon as possible.

 

Print the worksheets below to learn more!

Electrical Fire Safety AwardFire Safety Worksheet

A home structure fire is a devestating event for any family. Ensure the safety and well-being of your family, home, and personal possessions by following proper electrical safety procedures.

 

Does your family have a fire safety evacuation plan?

 

Alex Brown
How did you get my laptop for the picture in #9 :p I need to make some changes.....
December 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm
Erika McGinnis
Great article. You never think of these small issues becoming great ones that lead to fires. Great tips.
December 16, 2014 at 8:41 am
Dan Logan
Often overlooked but so important, everyone needs to read this.
December 17, 2014 at 10:08 am
Marjorie Stewart-Baxter
These are really great tips, especially with the holidays being right around the corner.
December 17, 2014 at 10:21 am
Kyleigh Warnke
The appliance rating is something I didn't know about...thanks Del Mar!
December 17, 2014 at 11:06 am
Akira Arjun
Thanks for the Better Post to prevent the electrical fire accidents in workplace . Implementing the safety Protective systems such as earth leakage circuit breaker and earthing and possibly maintaining it is really Required . Getting the electrical safety Info http://www.spplimited.co.in/nebosh-igc-course-training-in-chennai/, Continuous checks and repairing where ever necessary is appropriate . Thanks for the Great Post .
August 14, 2015 at 6:59 am
Jessy Shaw
Our neighbors recently had a scare with a fire and it got me and my husband thinking about fire safety. It really is an important thing for parents to teach their kids because things tend to go more smoothly when you have a plan. We are thinking about putting fire extinguishers in different parts of our home and teaching the kids to use them. Thank you for all this awesome information! http://www.totalfireyukon.ca/en/extinguishers.html
September 22, 2015 at 10:42 pm
Jordan Baker
I think that it is great that you talked a little bit about things that are flammable. I'll be the first to admit that I don't have a lot of knowledge on this subject. However, I do think that it is important to be familiar with different things that can cause a fire. The more you know about this subject, the better off you will be when the situation arises. http://www.fireextinguishersbrisbane.net.au/index.cfm/1/our-services
October 1, 2015 at 6:31 pm
Raylin Sutter
My house was built in the 1970's and I am sure that all of the wiring is outdated. We are going to be having someone come and inspect our home tomorrow and if it is outdated then we are hoping to get our electrical work done to resolve that. How old should wired be before they become technically outdated? http://www.electriciansinfredericksburg.com/Ceiling-Fan-Installations-Spotsylvania-VA.html
November 19, 2015 at 10:27 am
John Anderson
I never thought that exceeding the the wattage on a light bulb could cause a fire, and cause damage. I heard once to take pictures and have paperwork or all the stuff you own, and put them in a fireproof safe. So if the house caught on fire you can get the stuff replaced. http://www.homepublicadjusters.com
November 23, 2015 at 9:30 pm
Stephen Adams
I didn't know ceiling fans were a potential fire hazard. I really like your perspective about their purpose. I've mistakenly used my ceiling fan for the room. I'm going to change my habits and invest in a cooling fan this upcoming summer. Thanks. http://attaboyservices.com/electrical-contractor-in-lakewood-co-attaboy-electric-services/
November 24, 2015 at 12:39 am
Derrick Sly
It seems that most of these have to do with electrical services. Do you think that having an electrical technician come out and look at your home is a good way to prevent house fires in the first place? I can see that being a good preventative measure. http://www.verlindenswa.com.au/our-services
November 30, 2015 at 9:18 am
Jay Kae
Thanks for the reminder of the importance of checking your electrical system. Maybe I should hire residential electrical services to come check out my home. I want to make sure I minimize the risk of an electrical fire! http://www.allelectricalperth.com.au/residential-services
December 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm
Alex Lane
Thank you for the tips. My parents had a fire in their house once because of a bad outlet. I just bought my first house and want to be as prepared as possible. Do you recommend adding any sort of fire alarms in addition to smoke detectors? http://www.4seasonsfire.com/fire-alarm-inspections.html
December 7, 2015 at 10:58 am
Fred Summers
Thanks for this information on how to prevent electrical fires. I didn't realize that having lightbulbs that exceed the ftixture wattage could be a problem. I sometimes like the brighter lights so I'll have to check my bulbs. Thanks for sharing. http://www.electrical-source.net/contact
December 7, 2015 at 6:19 pm
Sam Gibson
Wow, I didn't realize how many potential hazards are around a typical home. My wife and I may be purchasing our first home next month. I think it might be a good idea to have a licensed, experienced, and reputable electrician go through and see if there are any potential hazards. I know I'd sleep better at night knowing our electrical system is up to code. http://www.mtmgroup.net.au/electrical
December 7, 2015 at 9:03 pm
Bennett Fischer
I noticed you said that it's important to change the batteries in the smoke detector twice a year. I had no idea idea I was supposed to do this. I'm really glad I found it though, because nothing would be worse then to have a fire occur in my home and my family not know. I'll be sure to start doing this from now on. Thanks for the help. http://www.rmlv.net
January 13, 2016 at 3:54 pm
Alex Trodder
It's really important to check your ceiling fan or light's recommended wattage. It can be really tempting to put in higher wattage bulbs, but this can pull more current than your fixture is rated for. If the wires aren't thick enough, then they can heat up and cause a risk for shorting out and an electrical fire. This, along with checking your smoke detector twice a year, can help ensure your home stays safe. http://www.gmwfireprotection.com/fire-alarm-systems
January 20, 2016 at 6:01 pm
Zequek Estrada
I found the tips you gave were extremely helpful because I didn't realize how hazardous improper wiring could be. I think the one that shocked me the most was under tip number seven about avoiding using order under rugs or through doors. I didn't know it could damage or expose wire. I'm sure many of my friends with kids would appreciate this article as well. https://wiringwizard.net/services
February 8, 2016 at 11:18 pm
Elden Gatley
I didn't think about the fact that electrical fires could simply be caused by light bulbs with excessive wattage. I will have to watch out for that next time I install a light bulb. I didn't even know you could install them if they had too much wattage. http://www.etheridgeelectric.com
February 10, 2016 at 10:47 am
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