Electricity has become such a necessary part of our lives we tend to take it for granted, but using it safely is vital.
Home electrical fires and accidents are the cause of death or critical injuries in the United States each year.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 51,000 electrical home structure fires occur a year, claiming almost 500 lives, injuring more than 1,400 people, and causing more than $1.3 billion in property damage.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that nearly 400 people are electrocuted in the U.S. each year.
Many electrocutions and home fires can be prevented by understanding basic electrical safety principles and adhering to safe practices.
Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has developed a number of resources to help educate homeowners, consumers, older adults, and children.
Learn how to minimize storm-related electrical hazards with ESFI’s collection of Severe Weather Safety Resources.
ESFI reminds you the best way to protect your family and your home against the risk of electrical fires or electrocution is to hire a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home.
Here are considerations in making your home safe.
Smoke alarms save lives!
- Do you have enough smoke alarms?
- Are they working?
- Do you test them?
Switches and Outlet
Look out for signs of trouble.
- Are they working?
- Do they make crackling, buzzing, or sizzling sounds?
- Are they warm to the touch?
- Do plugs fit snugly?
Never use damaged cords.
- Is there fraying or cracking?
- Are they pinched or pierced?
- Do you use extension cords all the time?
- Are cords getting enough air?
Lamps and Appliances
Use them safely.
- Are you using the right bulbs?
- Do you use space heaters safely?
- Are appliance cords protected from damage?
Know the basics.
- Do you have arc-fault circuit interrupters?
- Have you tested your AFCIs?
- Are all circuit breakers and fuses the proper sizes?
For more safety tips, visit ESFI’s page on home safety.