According to a recent NFPA report, during 2011-2015 electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in the ignition of 34,000 reported home structure fires, on average, per year. These result in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. The fires involved equipment such as wiring, lighting, cords and plugs. This report also states that electrical distribution or lighting equipment ranked first in direct property damage and third among the major fire causes in the number of home fires.

The NFPA ask residents to adhere to the following safety tips:

  • Check all electrical cords to make sure they are not running accross doorways or under carpets where they can get damaged.
  • Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets in your home to reduce use of extension cords.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage in a lamp or other light fixture. Check the sticker on the fixture to determine the wattage.

You should always have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including scheduling electrical inspections when buying or remodeling a home.

Please contact an electrician if you are encountering any of these signs in your home:

  • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • A tingling feeling when touching an electrical appliance
  • Discolored or warm wall outlets
  • A burning, rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Sparks from an outlet
  • Crackling or sizzling from outlets

Never use extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliances. All major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Only plug one heat-producing appliance into a receptacle outlet at a time. A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets for your needs.  Remember, power strips only add additional outlets; they do not change the amount of power being received from the outlet.