One of the top reasons for making sure that your electrical system is in tip-top shape is fire prevention. According to the US Fire Administration
, a typical year has over 28 600 fires and $1.1 billion worth of damages that's due to electrical fires. 310 people also lose their lives to these fires, with over 1 100 more injured. These electrical fires are caused by nothing more than frayed wires, misused appliances, overused sockets and many other simple and avoidable problems. By protecting our electrical systems and by making sure that everything is functioning well, we're not only protecting our property investments but also our own lives and our family.
When working with electricity and electrical systems, safety should always be the first concern. It is important for you to be able to recognize when you can deal with the problem yourself and when it's time to call on professional electricians. ESFI recommends that you always call a licensed electrician
to perform all electrical repairs in your home or building, but there are a few safety precautions that you can take to protect yourself from electrical fires.
• Regularly check your electrical appliances and wiring systems.
• When you spot frayed wiring, have them replaced right away.
• If any electrical tools cause electrical shocks or easily overheat, have them replaced.
• Make sure that electrical appliances are never in contact with wet floors or counters.
• When buying electrical products, make sure that they have been evaluated by a nationally recognized lab (e.g. UL or Underwriters Laboratory)
• Use the correct sockets for the correct plugs. Don't force mismatched sockets and plugs together.
• "Child-proof electrical outlets with safety closures.
• Never overload extension cords. Only use them on a temporary basis.
• If light switches become hot to the touch, switch them off and have them replaced by professional electricians right away.
• Have a smoke alarm. Check it regularly to make sure that it's working.
By following these simple steps, you greatly reduce the chances of an electrical fire happening in your home. If an electrical fire does start, having a smoke alarm can buy you precious minutes to escape and can very well save your life.
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