Protect your Home and Business! How to prevent electrical fires.
Does the area under your desk or around your entertainment devices look like this picture? You are not alone! In 2014, electricity consumption in the United States totaled nearly 3,863 billion kilowatt-hours. Unless you are living "off the grid", you are using electricity to charge cell phones and laptops, wash and dry clothes, cook meals, brew your morning cup of coffee and heat your business. Electrical power keeps people connected and allows people to do what they need to do. Even though most Americans recognize the benefits that come with electrical power, they must also understand that there is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously to avoid injury or possible disaster. According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, more than 50,000 fires in the home are attributed to electrical fires. These have resulted in almost 500 deaths and more than 1,400 injuries. The damage that has been done has totaled to more than $1.3 billion. Obviously, being careless with electrical power has very serious consequences. Below are safety measures that you can use in your business and home to reduce the risk of electrical fires: • Inspect your home and business for loose wires, faulty wiring, and shorts. If there are any issues, contact a qualified electrician. Also, use safety covers on outlets to protect children. • Make sure there are smoke detectors on each level of your home or business. Test them each month to make sure they are working properly.• If electrical equipment is making strange sounds or has a weird odor, turn them off. If there is water damage on your property, make sure that an expert inspects all electrical appliances. Do not plug them in or turn them on until they are safe. When water has damaged electrical appliances, they can be very dangerous.• Use safe cord practices. When cords are loose, frayed or cracked, repair them or replace them. Never place cords in high traffic areas, under rugs, or stapled to surfaces. Additional outlets can be installed by an electrician if necessary. Extension cords should only be utilized temporarily.• Light bulb wattage should be correct for the appliance being used.• During spring cleaning and while working near service meters or electrical lines, use caution. Consider hiring a professional to do the work if it is dangerous.• Flammable items should be kept away from electrical appliances.• Consider installing an arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) to reduce the chances of electrical fire in your home.• Avoid using electrical power tools outside after it has rained, or the area is wet. Never operate electrical equipment while barefoot.• Do not allow children to climb trees near power lines. Reduce the risk of electrical-related injuries by keeping balloons, kites, and other items away from overhead lines.Prevention is the best method to keep your family and property safe.