Electrical equipment and appliances can cause fires by overheating and setting off sparks. Warning signs often precede electrical fires. Malfunctions with the electrical system or an appliance; burning odors coming from appliances; or excessive heat and sparks are signs of a fire.
Circuit breakers and fuses, which are safety features built in to disconnect power from an electrical circuit if there is an overload, also provide warnings. While some electrical fires are caused by appliance defects most are attributed to incorrectly installed wiring, misused and poorly maintained electrical appliances, and overloaded outlets and extension cords.
Electrical Safety Tips
Keep electrical equipment clean and in good working order.
Use wall outlets appropriately. Plugging too many cords into one socket is a fire hazard. Avoid using cubes that allow more plugs to be used.
Use the correct bulb wattage in lamps. Using a higher wattage can cause a fire. If the correct wattage is unknown, use a bulb no greater than 60 watts.
Unplug space heaters, irons, hair dryers, curling irons, electric blankets, toasters and other appliances when not in use.
Have an electrician check fuses and circuit breakers when an overload occurs. Upgrade the circuits if needed. If a circuit is overloaded the circuit breaker "trips", stopping the flow of electricity to the circuit. This prevents the wires from overheating, averting a possible fire.
Do not run electrical or extension cords under carpet or rugs.
Do not staple or attach cords to wall. Staples can damage the cord.