According to FEMA, electrical fires end the lives of roughly 280 Americans each year, while injuring 1,000 more. The causes of these fires range from easy preventable extension cord problems to serious issues such as bad wiring in your living space. When installing and using our ceiling fans, floor fans and lighting fixtures we ask you to consider using these fire safety tips.
NashuaPatch.com recently reported a fire that started in an apartment building because of a malfunctioning overheated bathroom ceiling fan. The Watertown Patch more recently reported a two-alarm blaze in a home that was caused by faulty wiring in a ceiling fan. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the fires caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the buildings and displaced two families.
Electrical Fire Safety Interview with a Fireman
Fire Safety Tips from the Video
- Develop a plan with your children so they know what to do in case of a fire.
Change your batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year. A way to remember this is check it when the time changes in the spring and fall.
- If you smell something in your house that might be a fire don't hesitate to call 911.
- You can call your local fire department and ask them come do a fire safety check on your home.
- Never play with matches.
10 Electrical Fire Prevention Safety Steps for Adults
Read below to learn more about the causes of electrical fires and see ways to prevent them. By following these solutions you can help stop a devastating electrical fire from lighting in your home.
Beginner Steps for Electrical Fire Safety
1. Ceiling Fan Fire
Cause: Leaving an unsupervised ceiling fan running. Dirty ceiling fan vents that heat up and ignite.
Solution: Turn ceiling fans off when you leave the room. Never leave them on continuously or unsupervised. Also clean vents on fan regularly to keep flammable buildup from happening.
2. Lighting Fixture Fire
Cause: Using light bulbs with a higher wattage than the fixture can hold causing it to burn.
Solution: Read the light bulb wattage recommendation for all light fixtures. Never used higher light bulb wattages than the recommended amount. This will prevent fires and keep you from burning out your fixture.
3. Appliance Fire
Cause: Shoddily built appliances that don’t follow safety regulations.
Solution: Only use appliances approved by recommended testing labs, such as ETL, FM or UL (this specifically pertains to our lighting fixtures and ceiling fans).
4. Electrical Socket Fire
Cause: Plugs slipping out of socket, or extension cord causing sparks in flammable areas. Plugging large appliances like a washer and drying into an extension cord.
Solution: Always make sure your wiring is plugged in properly and securely. Plug large appliances directly into an outlet instead of using an extension cord to keep from overloading cord.
Intermediate Tips for Preventing Electrical Fires
5. Flammable Object Fire
Cause: Placing lamps too close to fabric or paper. Placing space heaters too close to flammable objects like curtains, carpet or papers.
Solution: Avoid placing lamps, exposed light bulbs, pendant lights or space heaters too close to flammable items, including curtains, stoves (the grease can catch on fire), papers, rugs, bedding or furniture.
6. Overloaded Outlet Fire
Cause: Overloading outlets, circuits and extension cords by trying to plug too many things into one area.
Solution: Never use multiple extension cords in one outlet. Try to even out the energy usage across multiple plugs and areas of your home. Overloading an outlet is very dangerous.
7. Cord Damage in High Traffic Locations
Cause: Running cords under rugs in high traffic areas or through doors that pinch the wires exposing them.
Solution: Keep cords out of high traffic areas and never run through a door or under a rug that could damage or expose the wiring over time. Always secure cords in place with duct tape.
Advanced Fire Safety Prevention Tips
8. Poorly Installed Live Wires
Cause: Loose/poorly installed live wires that are not properly capped or secured.
Solution: When installing your new ceiling fan, lighting fixture or outdoor wall lighting make sure all wires are properly capped and secured before turning the breaker back on. Do not leave any wires loose, even if they will not be live.
To properly cap a wire
a. Remove about half of an inch of the plastic insulation from the wire
b. Twist the wires together
c. Place the wireds into the nut and turn until tight
d. Tape the wire and nut together to secure
9. Broken or Frayed Wire Fire
Cause: Continuing to use any appliances with broken, frayed or exposed wiring. Using previously broken or breaking a three prong plug to fit a two prong outlet.
Solution: Replace appliances with broken, exposed or frayed wires or broken plug prongs immediately. Do not try to fix these on your own.
10. Circut Overload
Cause: Outdated wiring within your home causes circuits to overload and blow.
Solution: Have an electrician come out at least once every 10 years to inspect your home’s wiring and make sure it’s capable of handling all the different appliances that will be entering your home over the years.
In Case of a Fire
1. Call 911 immediately. If the fire is contained to one area such as a waste basket use a Class C fire extinguisher to put it out, only after you’ve shouted to alert others in the house of the fire and have called 911. Fire extinguishers can be forceful so stand a few feet from the fire when you use it.
- If the fire has begun to spread or is behind a wall, exit the house immediately at the safest point. Get on the floor and cover your mouth if the smoke is heavy.