Sobering Statistics About Electrical Fires
According to The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), around 51,000 homes catch fire each year due to electrical malfunctions. On average, these incidents result in almost 500 deaths, over 1,400 injuries and $1.3 billion in property damage. National Fire Prevention Month is all about trying to help prevent these fires and the damage they do.
Raising Awareness During National Fire Prevention Month
At GVEC, we understand and respect electricity’s potential dangers, and we hope you do, too. Understanding of and adherence to safe electrical practices can prevent many home electrical fires. ESFI and the National Fire Protection Association offer the following tips to consider not only during National Fire Prevention Month, but all year-round as well:
For Electrical Work, Call a Licensed, Professional Electrician
Any home electrical work should be performed by a qualified, licensed professional electrician, whose work complies with all local and national safety standards. If you hire an under qualified contractor who cuts corners, you might not only endanger your safety, but could also expose yourself to legal liability.
Use Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters to Help Prevent Electrical Fires
Consider replacing home circuit breakers with arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI). These devices provide enhanced electrical fire protection by detecting dangerous arcing conditions. Some electrical arcing occurs naturally and harmlessly during normal operation of certain electrical components. An arc-fault, however, is a dangerous, abnormal arc caused by overheated, strained or damaged electrical wiring. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that ACFIs could reduce the occurrence of U.S. electric fires by nearly 50 percent each year.
Replace Fuses and Circuit Breakers with Proper Replacements
Fuses and circuit breakers prevent electrical fires by disrupting the flow of electricity, thereby preventing overloads. Both devices come in a number of sizes, designed to accommodate specific power/amperage levels. Replacing a fuse or circuit breaker with the incorrect size or amperage rating can defeat the purpose of these devices, leading to electrical fire.
Keep Panels Clear of Obstructions
If you need to cut power quickly in an emergency, you could lose valuable seconds if you must first clear any obstacles to access the panel. Those seconds may be all that stands between safety and catastrophe.
Test Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters and ACFIs Monthly
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) cut power to an electrical outlet if they detect improper electricity flow. These devices should be built into electrical outlets in any area where electricity is used around water—kitchens, bathrooms, pool and jacuzzi areas, etc. GFCIs prevent needless shock and electrocution and, along with AFCIs, should be tested monthly to verify proper function; that testing involves only a quick, simple button-press.
Pay Attention to Electrical Warning Signs
Outlets or switches that are warm to the touch; flickering lights; crackling, sizzling or buzzing noises within walls, or near outlets or electrical devices—all these point to possible electrical problems. You should never ignore such signs; we recommend immediately calling a licensed, professional electrician for diagnosis and repair.
Regularly Inspect Cords, Outlets, Switches and Appliances for Damage
Make a point of regularly inspecting cords, outlets, switches and appliances for signs of damage. Doing so can significantly reduce your risk of electrical fire.
Use Extension Cords on a Temporary Basis Only
Extension cords aren’t generally designed for permanent use, which significantly increases the risk of electrical fire. And you should never use extension cords with space heaters or air conditioners.
Call the Professionals at GVEC Home Electrician Services
During National Fire Prevention month, it’s important to remember that safety around electricity is no trivial matter. Because electricity is so prevalent in our lives, it’s easy to take it for granted and forget the dangers it can pose. If you need electrical work done or are considering it, the professionals at GVEC Electrician services are fully licensed, qualified and knowledgeable in all applicable local and national electrical safety standards. We can tackle a range of electrical work for both home and small business, and we promise to conduct ourselves professionally and ethically, with competitive pricing. Ready to learn more? Visit GVEC Electrician services on the web or call us at 888.509.7773.