KEY FACTS ABOUT ELECTRICAL FIRES
- 83% of residential building electrical fires occurred most often in family dwellings
- 12% of residential building electrical fires occurred most often in the month of January due to increased use of heating appliances and lights
- 15% of residential building electrical fires most often started in bedrooms
- 31% of residential electrical fires are caused by electrical wires (insulation)
- The leading specific factors contributing to the ignition of residential building electrical fires were an electrical failure, malfunctioning (43%) unspecific short-circuit arc (23%), short-circuit arc from defective, worn insulation (11%)
COMMON CAUSES OF ELECTRICAL FIRES
- Faulty outlets, appliances: Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and faulty appliances cords (cables) & switches. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord (cables), which can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs that can start a fire.
- Light fixtures: Light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs are another common reason for electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures is a leading cause of electrical fires. Always check the maximum recommended bulb wattage on any lighting fixture or lamp and never go beyond the recommended amount. Faulty lamp and light fixtures also frequently result in fires.
- Misuse of extension cords (cables): Appliances should be plugged directly into outlets and not plugged into an extension cord for any length of time. Only use extension cords as a temporary measure. If you do not have the appropriate type of outlet for your appliance, get an electrician to install one for you
- Space heaters/Portable Water boilers: Be careful while using your portable water boilers. Because these heaters are portable, many times people put them too close to combustible surfaces such as curtains, beds, clothing, chairs, couches, and rugs. Coil space heaters are dangerous in this regard because the coil becomes hot and will almost instantaneously ignite any frameable surface nearby.