How to Avoid an Electrical Fire in Your Home

A wall outlet catches fire.

Electrical issues are among the leading causes of house fires in the United States, accounting for tens of thousands of incidents per year and resulting in hundreds of deaths. The good news is electrical fires can be avoided by taking a few simple actions. Here’s how you can avoid an electrical fire in your home.

Consider Updating Your Electrical System

If you live in an older house, chances are your electrical system is more prone to fires than a system in a newer house. Many older homes are outfitted with aluminum wiring, knob and tube wiring or just a system that isn’t as capable of handling modern electronic needs. These all come with greater risks of overheating and causing a fire. Obviously, it’s expensive and time-consuming to entirely update your electronic system. Luckily, there are other ways to avoid electrical fires.

Unplug Heat-Producing Appliances

Irons, curling irons, toasters and tea kettles are all commonly used heat-producing appliances. It’s only when they malfunction or are left plugged in too long unattended that they start to cause problems. There’s a simple solution here: don’t leave any item that produces heat plugged in when it’s not in use and they likely won’t cause an electrical fire.

Be Careful with Cords and Plugs

We use more electrical outlets than we ever have in the past so it’s important to be sure we’re not doing anything unsafe that could end up causing a fire, such as:

  • Watch out for loose-fitting plugs
  • Don’t use extension cords on a permanent basis
  • Replace wall covers when they break
  • Don’t cut off the third prong in a plug to make it fit a two-prong outlet
  • Don’t use a cord that is frayed or damaged
  • Don’t staple a cord to anything or run it under a carpet
  • Cover unused outlets when small children are around

These precautions will help you seriously cut down on the probably of an electrical fire in your home. Still, a fire can always strike without a moment’s notice, which is why it’s important for firefighters to be as prepared as possible.

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