The Garland Fire Departmentencourages residents to practice the basics of electrical safety.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical fires caused an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires in 2007-11. These fires resulted in 455 deaths and 1,518 injuries, with $1.5 billion in direct property damage.
“The best way to keep the home safe from electrical hazards is to take good care of appliances and to use all electrical equipment properly,” said Kristi Shepherd, public educator for the Garland Fire Department. “Respect for electricity and the power it provides must occur every day throughout the year.”
By reviewing the electrical safety tips below and taking action, Garland residents may help reduce electrical fires.
When you are buying, selling or remodeling a home, have it inspected by a qualified electrician.
If a fuse blows or a circuit breaker trips often, find out why and correct the problem. Replace fuses with the correct amp rating for the circuit they protect; never replace a fuse with a higher rated fuse. If the problem continues, call an electrician.
Only plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
Buy only appliances that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
Replace cracked and damaged electrical cords.
Avoid pinching cords against walls or furniture or running them under carpets or across doorways. This can cause a fire.
Use extension cords for temporary wiring only.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
Consider having additional circuits or receptacles added by a qualified electrician.
If an appliance is malfunctioning, unplug it if it is safe to do so. If necessary, cut off power by unscrewing a fuse or turning off the circuit breaker.
Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are a new kind of circuit breaker that shut off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home. Use a qualified electrician.
Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard.
Test AFCIs and GFCIs once a month to make sure they are working properly.
Keep ladders away from overhead power lines including the electrical service into your home. Never touch a power line. Stay at a safe distance – you could be electrocuted.
Report downed power lines to authorities.
Some power lines are underground. Call your local authority regarding digging.