Electrical Distribution Equipment

electrical safety in the home

Wherever electrical current is concerned, a fire extinguisher should never be too far.

  • Wiring, outlets, switches, circuit breakers and other electrical devices are the third leading cause of home fires and the second leading cause of fire deaths.
  • Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
  • Try to avoid extension cords. If you feel an extension cord is necessary, make sure that it is not frayed or worn. Do not run it under carpet or around doorways.
  • Never overload a socket. The use of “octopus” outlets or “power bar”, outlet extensions that accommodate several plugs, is strongly discouraged. Try to limit one high-wattage appliance into each individual outlet at a time.
  • If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows frequently, cut down on the number of appliances on that line. In many older homes, the capacity of the wiring system has not kept pace with today’s modern appliances and can overload electrical systems. Some overload signals include: dimming lights when an appliance goes on, fuses blowing frequently or shrinking TV picture.
  • Assure there’s plenty of air space around home entertainment units such as the TV and stereo to avoid overheating.
  • Although some fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, many are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded circuits and extension cords.

Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths.
Never smoke in bed. Always look under cushions and in trashcans for burning cigarettes before going to bed. Check carpeting where ashtrays have been used.
More to think about:

  • Get rid of stored newspaper or other unnecessary materials. Newspapers stored in a damp, warm place may ignite spontaneously.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and outside of sleeping areas.
  • Mount a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, garage and workshop.
  • Agree in advance on an escape plan. There should be at least two exits in every room.
  • Note: Half of all home fire deaths occur at night, so fire hazard checks and special attention to fire prevention should occur before going to bed.