“Fire is Everyone’s Fight ™” is a national effort led by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to lower the number of home fires and home fire injuries in America. Along with USFA and partner organizations across the country, the fire community is speaking out with a unified message of fire prevention and safety to the public. The goal is to change how people think about fire and fire prevention. It is important to be aware of the common causes of electrical fires. With that awareness comes thoughtful response.
A call to action – Fire is everyone’s fight.
Home fire prevention in the United States is an ongoing battle. Eighty-one percent of all fire deaths and 76 percent of all fire injuries occur in residential buildings.
Each year there is an estimated:
- 365,500 residential building fires
- 2,560 deaths
- 13,275 injuries
- $6.6 billion in property loss
Of those statistics a good percentage of injuries, death and property lost is to electrical fires. As a life long Florida resident and Treasure Coast electrician, I have seen firsthand the destruction electricity can produce. According to the USFA:
Home Fire Prevention: Facts about home electrical fires.
- U.S. fire departments respond each year to an estimated 25,900 home electrical fires. These fires cause an estimated 280 deaths, 1,125 injuries and $1.1 billion in property loss.
- Home electrical fires result in greater dollar loss per fire than nonelectrical fires.
- In 79 percent of home electrical fires, the fire spreads beyond the object where the fire starts.
- Most home electrical fires involve electrical distribution, lighting or power transfer equipment.
- Thirty-nine percent of home electrical fires involve outlets and receptacles, electrical branch circuits (for example, interior house wiring), and other electrical wiring.
Be Proactive for Home Fire Prevention.
Almost all electrical fires can ben avoided with for-thought and prudent action. Here are 4 most common causes of electrical fires:
- Faulty wiring is the number one cause of electrical fires. Electrical fires happen because of problems in house wiring or appliance failure, but many occur due to homeowners overloading electrical outlets or extension cords. Other fires are started by faults in appliance cords, receptacles and switches; use of appliances with a worn or frayed cord which can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs. Running cords under rugs is another cause of electrical fires. Removing the grounding plug from a cord so it can be used in a two-prong electrical outlet can also cause a fire. Appliances have the extra prong is so they can be only used in outlets that can handle the extra amount of electricity that these appliances draw.
- Light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs are another common cause of electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures can cause an electrical fire. Always check the maximum recommended bulb wattage on any lighting fixture or lamp and never go over the recommended amount. Placing materials like cloth or paper over a lampshade has caused more fires that you could believe.Faulty lamps and light fixtures also frequently result in fires.
- Misuse of extension cords is another electrical fire cause. Appliances should be plugged directly into outlet and not plugged into an extension cord for any length of time. Only use extension cords as a temporary measure.
- Outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If a home is over twenty years old, it may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased amounts of electrical appliances in today’s average home. Breakers should be triggered when circuits get overloaded by too much electricity. Outdated breaker boxes often have worn connectors that do not work, causing the system to overload and start an electrical fire.