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Prevent Electrical Fires – Tips

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Creative Commons License photo credit: AlishaV

Electrical fires are not a rare thing, and can happen to anyone, at any time.

Actually, I experienced it a couple of times as well.

My first experience was with my oven, as all of a sudden, the heating element started to smolder, and my whole oven lit up with flames. I turned the oven off, but the fire did not stop.  Finally I ran to the main fuse box, and flipped off the oven fuse, at which point the smoldering slowly subsided, and my oven started to cool off.

If you do not know where your fuse box is located, or which fuse switch is for which part of the house, you should learn it right now, and hopefully will never need to use this knowledge.  I was lucky enough to be familiar with our fuse box.

Another time was just as scary, since while I was away from home, my toaster oven “miraculously” turned itself on.  I was not even using my toaster oven that day.  It must have been heating at full blast long enough for the handle to fall off, the electrical socket, walls and counter top to get  too hot to touch.  Fortunately it did not cause a more serious fire, and to this day I still do not know what caused it.

I learned my lesson, so now before leaving the house I always unplug the toaster oven, the coffee pot, my curling iron, and any other small appliances I have plugged in…just in case.  I encourage you to do the same, because not only it will save energy (anything plugged in, even if not in use, draws energy), it will give you a peace of mind, while you are away.

Here are additional tips on preventing electrical fires in your home:

  • Cover all unused wall sockets with plastic safety covers, if you have small children in your house (they love to stick their curious little fingers in there, or anything else they might be holding).
  • Avoid running extension cords across walkways, doorways, and under carpets.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for plugging appliances into electrical outlets.
  • Avoid overloading outlets, by not plugging more than one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle at one time.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor, and near all sleeping areas.
  • Change smoke alarm batteries regularly. As a rule of thumb, change every time you adjust your clocks for daylight savings time.
  • Replace, or repair any loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices (that includes your laptop).

If you have any other ideas on preventive measures for house fires, please share them with us.

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