Did you know that fire departments across the US respond to an average of 47,820 structure fires each year that are directly related to an electrical fire or malfunction? In fact, electrical safety surrounding power outlets, plugs and extension cords is an important home safety issue that is often overlooked. As your trusted local home insurance agency, we want to make sure that you and your loved ones are protected in the event of an electrical fire. In addition to investing in comprehensive home insurance, there are a few key steps that you can take to prevent electrical fires in and around your home.
Top 7 Electrical Fire Safety Tips
1. Upgrade Outlets
Homes that were built before 1965 usually have ungrounded, 2-pronged outlets. Newer homes typically feature 3-pronged outlets that include a hot, neutral and ground wire. If you own an older home, it may be beneficial to upgrade your wiring to accept 3-pronged outlets.
2. Install Tamper-Resistant Receptacles
If you have children in your home, installing tamper-resistant receptacles in outlets can help to prevent accidents. While the National Electric Code has required any new and renovated dwellings to include these tamper-resistant receptacles since 2008, older homes do not typically have them.
3. Practice Safe Use of Extension Cords
Extension and power cords can pose a great fire risk in your home if not used properly. Keep in mind that extension cords are intended for temporary use only and damaged or loose electrical cords can increase the risk of shock, overheating or arcing that can lead to a fire. Never use an extension cord with major appliances and never run them under a rug or carpeting.
4. Call the Experts
Unsure if you’ve got an electrical problem on your hands? It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you notice any of the following, be sure to call a qualified electrician as soon as possible:
- Wall outlets or switches that are warm-to-the-touch
- Lights dimming or flickering
- Sparking appliances
- Appliances that give off a rubbery or burning smell
- Fuses that blow or trip regularly
5. Use Appliances Safely
Remember that only one high-wattage appliance should be plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time. This rule also applies to heat-producing appliances like coffee makers, toasters, and electric kettles. Whenever you plug in an appliance to a receptacle outlet, always make sure that you read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions as well.
6. Always Employ a Qualified Electrician
You can help to prevent fires and protect against shock hazards in your home by installing upgraded interrupters to your power outlets. While this may seem like a simple job, electrical changes around your home should always be completed by a qualified, professional electrician.
7. Check Your Smoke Alarms
You should have smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every room, including hallways. Smoke alarms should also be replaced every ten years and should be tested each month. Replace batteries as needed to make sure that all smoke alarms are working properly.
Keep Your Family Safe with Comprehensive Home Insurance Coverage
At Imes Insurance Associates, we want to help make sure that you and your loved ones are protected against common fire threats, and that if a fire should take place, you can recover from a financial standpoint as easily as possible. That’s why we make it easy to tailor your home insurance policy to fit your specific needs. Not sure what your current home insurance policy actually covers? Now is the perfect time to review your coverage options with us! Contact us if you would like to review your coverage today.