Electrical Fires: A Hidden Home Safety Threat

Electrical spark between two insulated copper wires ( 3d render ) Fire is Personal. It attacks people you care about and the things you love. As you read this, look around the room you're in. You'll see souvenirs from vacations, pictures of loved one who are no longer available to give you a hug, documents you need to stay in your home or away from the IRS. Now, look at your family. You want, very badly, to keep fire away from them. School starts in a few months. Don't send your children off to their first day with a disaster to deal with. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical fires due to electrical failure claimed all or part of 47,820 homes, 455 lives, 1,518 injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage between 2007 and 2011. That’s equivalent to all of the houses in Overland Park, Kansas. House fires don’t burn only the walls and roof of a home. The American Psychological Association says that a family who isn’t harmed during a fire can still feel significant shock, anger, hopelessness and depression. These feelings can put further strain on a family where one member started the fire. Half of all of the fires caused by an electrical occurance were started by a failure of light fixtures or the cables or cords in the house. Both are easily visible, easy to check and easy to replace or repair. The NFPA suggests that you: -Take care of the lights and cords inside the home. Replace worn cords or broken fixtures. Never run cords under carpets or across doorways. If you have a lamp that flashes on and off, you can protect yourself from harm by replacing the light socket or the lamp itself. -Install tamper proof guards on all receptacles to keep the children in the home safe. This is part of basic childproofing. Crawl around on your hands and knees and look at your home from the child's point of view. You'll see dangers you can't see when you're standing up. -Avoid greed in using receptacles. Don’t overload any single outlet with more appliances or furnishings than it can handle. -Call a qualified electrician when any switch or outlet feels warm, fuses blow or circuit breakers continually trip. -Keep lamps from possible damage. Make sure they’re placed on level surfaces, keep them a safe distance from flammable objects and use only bulbs of the proper wattage. -Install ground fault circuit interrupters and arc fault circuit interrupters in the appropriate places throughout the house. It isn't all grim and foreboding. If no one is hurt in a home fire, the homeowner can hire a reputable disaster cleanup company to put it all back in order.
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