According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical cords and temporary wiring account for over 25% of the estimated 81,000 electrical system fires that occur each year. While the amount of home fires has declined nearly 50% over the past 40 years, the average cost of damage caused has nearly doubled. Here are 10 home electrical and safety tips to practice today.
- Have your home electrical system thoroughly inspected by qualified electricians to ensure that all electrical work in the home meets the safety provisions in the National Electric Code (NEC).
- Install smoke detectors on every level of the home, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. Smoke detectors have a lifespan of 10 years, and each one has an expiration date.
- Ask a qualified electrician if your home would benefit from Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) protection, especially during inspections of older homes or upgrades to electrical systems. These advanced new safety devices recognize dangerous conditions that are not detected by standard breakers.
- Electrical burns and shocks account for over 4000 non-fatal injuries every year in the United States. In homes with young children, install tamper resistant receptacles to prevent electrical shocks and burns.
- Conduct a basic assessment of your home electrical system, electrical cords, extension cords, power plugs, and outlets.
- Always unplug an appliance before cleaning or repairing it. For example, if a piece of food gets stuck in a toaster, unplug the toaster before attempting to remove the food.
- Remember that a turned-off appliance is still connected to electricity until it is unplugged. During a power outage, or when doing any electrical work, unplug all appliances connected to electrical outlets.
- Look for telltale signs of electrical problems such as dim and flickering lights, unusual sizzling and buzzing sounds from your electrical system, insulation, and circuit breakers that trip repeatedly. Don’t delay, contact a qualified electrician to fix immediately.
- Extension cords should only be used temporarily, and never with space heaters or air conditioners. Make sure power strips, cords, and surge suppressors are designed to handle the loads for their intended use.
- Avoid overloading outlets. Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician as needed.
In case an electrical fire does break out in your home, establish an evacuation plan in advance with your family and practice it annually. Teach your children what to do if they smell smoke or sense a fire and locate all exits in your home.
At ALE Solutions, we understand that sometimes homes and lives are devastated by fire or other electrical-related disasters. We work with insurance adjusters and their policyholders to ensure the needs of both parties get met in a timely and effective manner. For more information, visit alesolutions.com.