In 2007, an estimated 51,800 home structure fires reported to U.S. Fire Departments involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction a factor contributing to ignition. These fires resulted in 451 civilian deaths, 1,641 civilian injuries, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage.

Safety tips (from NFPA)

  • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  •  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. If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
  •  Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.
  • Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen, bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.
  • Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets.