U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.
- Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
- In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
- 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, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.
- Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.
- Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets.
Outside Electrical work
- Have a qualified electrician do all electrical work.
- To prevent an electrical shock, make sure all your outside electrical receptacles are GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected.
- Use lighting and power tools that have the label of an independent test laboratory and make sure they are made for outdoor use.
- Store your electrical tools indoors.
- Keep electric tools away from children.
- Keep the area around your electric meter and other electrical equipment clear.
- Check lighting and extension cords for damage before using. Replace any damaged cords right away.
- Use extension cords that have the label of an independent testing laboratory and are marked for outdoor use.
- Extension cords are not meant for long-term use.
Have a professional tree cutting service trim branches that might fall on electric wiring. Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder outside. Keep the ladder at least 10 feet away from power lines. Never touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed wire. Power lines may be live, stay a safe distance away. Report downed wires to authorities right away.