- Electrical Safety FireFactors Flyer
- May is National Electrical Safety Month
- USFA's On The Safety Circuit Electrical Safety Factsheet
- U.S. Fire Administration's Electrical Fire Safety Webpage
- USFA's Residential Building Electrical Fires Report March 2008
- NFPA's Electrical Fire Safety in the Home
- Coffee Break Training for Fire Inspectors: Electrical Safety
Electrical Fires Leading Cause of Fire Deaths
Local fire departments reported that there were 760 structure fires caused by electrical problems in Massachusetts in 2011. These fires caused 14 civilian deaths, one fire service death, 27 civilian injuries, 81 fire service injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $30.6 million, accounting for 14% of the total dollar loss to fire in 2011. The average loss per fire was $40,337.
Electrical Safety Tips ²
- Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
- In homes with small children, unused wall sockets and extension-cord receptacles should have plastic safety covers.
- Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
- Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
- If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
- When possible, avoid the use of "cube taps" and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle. Use only one appliance at a time.
- Extension cords should be for temporary use only. They are not intended to replace permanent household wiring.
- Cords should be discarded if they are cracked or frayed
- Cords should be used according to their ratings (indoor or outdoor use) and according to the power needs of the appliance that is being plugged in
- Never nail or staple cords or use cords that are coiled or bent.
- If the cord is hot to the touch then it should be replaced with a cord that has a higher wattage capacity.
- Always unplug the cord by pulling on the plug and not the cord.
Polarized and 3-Prong Plugs
- Polarized plugs have one blade that is slightly bigger than the other. This design makes sure that plugs are plugged into outlets correctly and also reduces the risk of electric shock. NEVER shove a polarized plug into a non-polarized outlet or extension cord.
- 3-prong plugs also help to reduce the risk of electric shock. NEVER remove the 3 rd prong in order to make it fit into a 2 prong outlet or extension cord.
- Check the lamp's wattage and use the appropriate watt light bulb.
- Switch from incandescent bulbs to florescent bulbs that are cooler and use less electricity to produce the same amount of light.
- Make sure that light bulbs are screwed in securely to prevent overheating.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn.
- If you smell a faint burning or rubbery smell from a lamp then the wattage level of the light bulb is too high for the lamp and it should be replaced with the appropriate bulb.
- Make sure that all appliances have been tested by an independent research laboratory and be sure to follow all manufacturers instructions carefully.
- Appliances that take a lot of power to operate, such as space heaters and halogen lamps, should be plugged directly into an outlet. These appliances should not be plugged into extension cords.
- One Outlet One Plug! Don't overload electric outlets with several plugs. If multiple appliances must share one outlet, be sure to use only one appliance at a time.
Water and appliances don't mix!
- Don't leave appliances plugged in where they may come into contact with water.
- If an appliance falls into water DO NOT reach in to pull it out. First turn off the power and unplug the appliance.
- Don't use electric appliances or take showers or baths during an electric storm. Using electricity during an electric storm increases your risk of getting an electric shock.
Hunt for Home Electrical Hazards
Keep an eye out for these warning signs. If any of these are present in your home there could be a risk of an electric fire or electrocution.
- Frequent power outages or blown fuses. This may indicate that your home wiring needs to be updated or repaired. Contact a licensed electrician.
- Overloaded electrical outlets
- Dim or flickering lights
- Sparks or sizzling sounds in outlets or walls
- Overheated plugs, cords or switches
- Smells of something burning or rubbery smells
- Frayed wires or cracked cords
- Feeling a mild shock or tingle when you plug in an appliance.
Starting a New Outdoors Project?
Call Dig-Safe at 1-888-344-7233 before any digging or excavation work to prevent any electrical danger.