The National Fire Protection Association says that fire departments all across the country responded to an estimated 47,820 electrical fires annually between 2007 and 2011. During that time there were approximately 455 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries among non-firefighters. Property damage easily exceeded $1 billion.
Most firefighters will probably tell you that the most frustrating thing about electrical fires is that they are completely avoidable. Although many homeowners may not consider installing an alarm system or smoke detectors to prevent fires, for simple reasons such as they work from home or that their neighbors look out for their home when they are work, do remember that, placing both are good to have in case a fire does break out. A DIY Home Security and Alarm System informs those concerned, that a fire has begun or that there is a dangerous amount of smoke that can be controlled. At this juncture, it is important to note that preventing electrical fires is a lot simpler than what most think it is.
Electrical Fires and Appliances
The two most common causes of electrical fires relating to appliances are frayed cords and overloaded outlets. Let’s start with frayed electrical cords first.
A standard electrical cord consists of three wires insulated from one another to prevent short-circuits. Those insulated wires are wrapped in a plastic or rubber casing. If the casing breaks and the installation is allowed to fray, any arching of the electrical current can easily spark a fire. For example, it wouldn’t take much for a spark to ignite draperies that hang down very close to a frayed cord.
As for overloading outlets, this is a tragic and frequent occurrence in the U.S. There is a reason the standard outlet has only two plugs. Trying to extend an outlet to accommodate half a dozen is a dangerous practice that can easily lead to an electrical fire.
The Use of Extension Cords
Extension cords are, by design, temporary devices for the purposes of distributing electricity. They have never been intended to be a permanent wiring solution. Therefore, any use of extension cords on a permanent basis translates into increased risk of an electrical fire. If you are using extension cords in your home, practice the following safety tips:
- Never run extension cords under a carpet
- Replace any damaged extension cords immediately
- Make sure extension cords are not accessible by children
- Do not overload extension cords by using splitters.
You should consider having an electrician come in and modify your home’s electrical system if you are forced to use extension cords on a permanent basis. It is far safer to have your wiring updated than to take the risk of an extension cord leading to a fire.
DIY Home Alarm Systems
We recommend a DIY wireless home alarm system with monitored smoke detectors as well. Alarm systems and smoke detectors cannot prevent fires, but they do provide the kind of warning you need to get out of the house quickly and notify your local authorities right away. Smoke detectors alone significantly increase your chances of surviving what could be a devastating house fire.
The benefit of a DIY wireless home alarm is that you can save money by installing and monitoring it yourself. Thanks to advances in technology, DIY homeowners can now enjoy just as much protection from a wireless alarm system as their counterparts who elect to go with a full-service provider. That’s a good thing.
House fires cause too much damage and devastate too many lives. Do not allow you and your family to be victims. Please take the time to review all of the electrical components in your home to make sure you are doing things safely. Use extension cords only on a limited basis, routinely inspect all electrical cords for damage, and never overload your outlets for any purpose. If you can avoid the most common causes of electrical fires, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming a statistic.
1. NFPA – http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/top-causes-of-fire/electrical/electrical-safety-in-the-home