Tips for Preventing Home Electrical Fires

Electricity is a powerful force that serves many purposes in our lives, from lighting our homes to powering our phones and other devices we can’t live without.

However, electrical malfunctions can also lead to devastating consequences, such as home electrical fires. Homes built before the 1950s may be particularly vulnerable, but even newer homes can experience electrical fires.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that, in a recent four-year period, fire departments responded to an average of over 32,000 home structure fires involving electrical distribution and lighting equipment. These incidents resulted in more than 400 civilian deaths and 1,000 injuries annually, as well as $1.5 billion in property damage.

To help prevent electrical fires, the personal injury legal team at Onward Injury Law in Bloomington has compiled some essential safety tips and warning signs to watch for.

Essential Electrical Safety Tips

In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, we are surrounded by electrical devices that make our lives easier and more convenient. While these devices have undoubtedly improved our daily experiences, it’s crucial to remain vigilant about the potential hazards associated with improper use of electricity.

Here’s what you can do.

Proper Outlet Use and Care

  • Avoid overloading outlets with too many plugs or adapters.
  • Ensure plugs are fully inserted into sockets.
  • Never remove the grounding pin (third prong) or force a three-prong cord into a two-slot outlet.
  • Repair or replace any loose wall receptacles, missing, or broken wall plates.
  • Install tamper-resistant outlets if you have young children in the home.
  • Use power strips with internal overload protection and don’t overload them.
  • Only use extension cords temporarily and replace worn or damaged ones immediately.
  • Keep cords away from rugs, bedding, and flammable materials, and avoid nailing or stapling them to walls or floors.

DIY Project Awareness

  • Be cautious with DIY projects, as punctured wires can cause arc faults and generate extreme heat.
  • Always use a stud finder before nailing to avoid damaging hidden wiring.

Lighting and Appliances Safety

  • Purchase lamps and fixtures certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Ensure bulbs are the correct wattage and type for your lamp or fixture, and screw them in securely.
  • Keep lamps away from drapes and other combustible materials, and use proper lampshades to avoid direct contact with hot bulbs.
  • Plug major appliances (refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers) directly into wall outlets, as extension cords may overheat.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use.
  • Replace appliances with cracked, damaged, or loose cords.

When Do You Need to Call a Licensed Electrician?

Even when taking proper precautions, sometimes, things break down and need professional repair. That is certainly the case with your home’s electrical system.

You should contact an electrician right away if you notice any of the following:

  • Hot or odorous switches or outlets
  • Discolored cords, outlets, or switch plates
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Non-functional outlets, which may indicate unsafe wiring
  • Popping or sizzling sounds behind walls
  • Noises in walls or attic that suggest rodent infestation, as they can chew through wiring insulation and cause fires
  • Frequent blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers

Any of the above could indicate a serious safety issue. Don’t ignore signs of a bigger problem—if ignored they could lead to a home electrical fire. It’s better to be safe than sorry and let a pro evaluate the situation.

Preventing Home Electrical Fires Is Up to You

Preventing home electrical fires is a responsibility that falls on each and every one of us. By staying informed and applying the tips shared in this article, you can take proactive measures to minimize the risk of electrical fires in your home.

Always remember to be mindful of your electrical usage, invest in routine maintenance, and prioritize safety when dealing with electrical systems. Your vigilance and dedication to following these guidelines will not only protect your home and belongings, but more importantly, safeguard the lives of you and your loved ones.

If you have suffered a catastrophic injury due to a home electrical fire, a Bloomington burn injury lawyer at Onward Injury Law may be able to help.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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