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How to Prevent Electrical Fires

wire that is on fire near plug outlet

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, every year in the United States, home electrical fires alone account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, more than 500 deaths, over 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage. As professional, fully licensed electricians, the team at ACM Electrical Contracting does not present these facts as a scare tactic. Instead, our goal is to raise awareness. It is imperative that residents and commercial enterprises be aware of the following steps about how to prevent electrical fires to ensure their safety as well as the safety of their families, employees, and visitors.  Electrical fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

Guidelines for Electrical Fire Prevention

The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a set of regularly updated standards for the safe installation of electric wiring in the United States. First published in 1897, the NEC is updated once every three years. The NEC provides guidelines for electrical installation in order to prevent fires and other electrical accidents. Follow these fire and electrical safety tips provided by the NEC, and you’ll be doing your part to ensure electrical fire prevention in your home or at your business:

  • Have your home’s electrical system routinely inspected by qualified electricians. This will make certain that all electrical work in the home meets the safety provisions outlined by the NEC. When is a good time for an inspection? Whenever you install a home theater, upgrade your computer systems, update lighting, install a home or business security system. Even a kitchen renovation is due cause to have your home’s electrical system checked out.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level of the home, It is not excessive, and part of a sound electrical fire prevention program to additionally install a smoke detector inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. These systems are low cost and available at any big box or hardware store.
  • Most homes have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) detection systems to help protect your outlets from electrical accidents. However, there is another system, an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) that may be a better choice for your home or business. If your home is more than 50 years old, be sure to ask a qualified electrician if your home would benefit from AFCI protection. If upgrading to a new electrical system, be aware that these advanced new safety devices recognize dangerous conditions that are not detected by standard breakers.
  • Be sure to test smoke detectors and AFCIs monthly to ensure that they are working properly.
  • Every home and office needs to establish an evacuation plan to be used in case of an emergency, and practice with your family and/or employees.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the light fixture.
  • In homes with young children, install tamper resistant receptacles to prevent electrical shocks and burns.
  • Conduct a basic assessment of your home electrical system, electrical cords, extension cords, power plugs, and outlets. Make sure these are not overloaded. Also, especially if you have pets, make sure that each is in good working order, not chewed or with any interior exposed wire.
  • Look for telltale signs of electrical problems such as dim and flickering lights, unusual sizzling and buzzing sounds from your electrical system, insulation, and circuit breakers that trip repeatedly. Contact a qualified electrician immediately.
  • Use extension cords only temporarily, and never with space heaters or air conditioners. As an extra point of prevention: If you leave the room, be sure to turn off your space heater. Never leave these heating units unattended.
  • As mentioned previously, we upgrade our technology without a thought to the power it requires. That is why as part of your personal electrical fire prevention program, be sure to avoid overloading outlets. Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician as needed.

Contact ACM Electrical Contracting as Your Trusted Partner

ACM Electrical Contracting has been serving the greater TriState region for decades. We hope you will follow our advice on how to prevent electrical fires to ensure everyone’s safety. Be sure to contact our team to assist with all your home or business’ electrical needs. Call now!