Electricity helps make our lives easier but there are times when we can take its power and its potential for fire-related hazards for granted. That’s why NFPA actively supports National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which works to raise awareness of potential home electrical hazards, the importance of electrical fire safety, and the safety of electrical workers, in May.
To help reduce your risk, NFPA and ESFI recommend that you have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including electrical inspections, when buying or remodeling a home. The following are additional tips residents can follow to help keep their homes safe from electrical fires:
- Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they are can get damaged.
- Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets in your home to reduce the use of extension cords.
- Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. Check the sticker on the lamp to determine the maximum wattage light bulb to use.
Facts & figures
- Between 2010 and 2014, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to an average of 45,210 home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction. These fires caused annual averages of 420 civilian deaths, 1,370 civilian injuries, and $1.4 billion in direct property damage.
- The bedroom was the leading area of origin for home fires involving lamps, light fixtures, and bulbs, with 22% of the total
- Extension cords account for the greatest share of home fires involving cords or plugs, with 57% of the fire total.
Source: NFPA’s “Electrical Fires,” report.