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Cooking dinner, reading your favorite book at night or doing the laundry are all possible because of electricity. Electricity is a necessary and useful resource, but can cause major damage if things go wrong. Here are some steps you can take to prevent electrical fires.
Know the Common Causes of Electrical Fires
Faulty Outlets, Appliances and CordsAppliance cords that are worn or frayed can heat up surrounding surfaces which can lead to a fire. Wooden floors, curtains and rugs are all flammable. Running cords under rugs is dangerous for the same reason. Faults in electrical outlets and switch boxes can also spark or cause heat, leading to flames.
Light Fixtures, Lamps and Light BulbsUsing a bulb with a higher wattage than the maximum amount is a common cause of electrical fires. Hanging fabric over a lamp may make it may look pretty, but it can be dangerous. The fabric can heat up and ignite, causing an electrical fire. If your light fixtures, lamp or bulbs are faulty, this can cause fires too.
Extension CordsIt is safer to plug your appliances directly into an outlet. If you use an extension cord, make sure it is completely unrolled to prevent the build-up of heat. If you have to rely on extension cords as a permanent solution, you probably need more outlets. Contact us if you need new outlets installed for your appliances.
WiringDo you live in an older home? Your home’s electrical wiring may not be suitable for modern appliances. Modern homes are equipped with breakers that cut the power when the circuits get overloaded. In older homes the connectors in old breaker boxes may no longer work. Electrical fires can occur if these systems get overloaded.
How to Prevent Electrical Fires?
Discoloration Around OutletsAny discoloration around your outlets is a clear indication of a problem. Avoid using those outlets and call an electrician immediately to come out and find the source of the issue.
Loose OutletsIf you plug something in and your outlet is loose, avoid using it and call an electrician to diagnose and fix the problem.
Feeling Heat? Don’t Use!If your outlet or switch is warm or hot to the touch, do not use it. Heat is a clear indication of a problem that could lead to a fire. This applies to wires as well. Heat builds up as a result of an overloaded circuit, or a loose connection. If ignored, these can often cause an electrical fire.
Check Cords RegularlyIf the cords to your appliances are frayed or worn out, don’t use them.
There Are Flames! Now What?
Stay CalmOur natural response to seeing a fire is to panic, but this shuts off the logical function of the brain. Staying calm will help you deal with the problem efficiently and stop the fire from spreading.
Cut Off Power in The Affected AreaShut off the supply of electricity to the site of the fire. If it’s a wire, outlet or receptacle fire, shut off power at the panel. If it’s an appliance that’s burning – unplug it.
Small Fire? Use Baking SodaBaking soda if very efficient for putting out small electrical fires. For bigger fires, call 911 immediately.
Never Use WaterWater conducts electricity well and can cause electric shock even if you’ve disconnected the burning appliance or shut off the mains.
Call in A Professional
Once the emergency is dealt with, you need a professional electrician to identify and fix the problem. Our qualified electricians use advanced troubleshooting technology which allows them to identify a variety of sources which might be causing electrical problems in your home.