FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: ELECTRICAL SAFETY

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November 14, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) –Electrical failures cause thousands of home fires every year, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Those fires cause death and injuries and close to $1.5 billion dollars in property damage. One simple way homeowners can prevent costly electrical fires is with a home fire inspection.  Many fire departments offer this service—often free of charge.

Ask your local department about having an inspection for potential electrical issues and recommend steps for improving fire safety. An inspection should review all fire hazards in your home, from testing smoke detectors to making sure curtains and other flammables are a safe distance from heat sources.

Electrical factors they might inspect include:

A proper ground. Grounding diverts excess current that may result from an electrical surge and helps to keep electrical systems, devices and humans safer.

Electrical panel. There should be air space around the main panel. Inside, there shouldn’t be evidence of overheating or corrosion, and the fuses and breakers should be the correct size.

Appliances. If you have a device that’s going to cause a home fire, it’s most likely going to be one that draws a lot of current. Check the integrity of cords and plug-ins on fridges, stoves and other large appliances. 

General safety concerns. Look for electrical hazards such as receptacles and switches that aren’t functioning properly, light bulbs exceeding the maximum wattage, damaged cords, and overloaded power strips.  Walk through your home to double-check that you’re using extension cords safely and to look for overheated switch plates, buzzing sounds coming from outlets, and other signs it’s time to rewire your home.

How fire-safe is your home? Take this fire safety survey from the National Fire Protection Association: http://www.nfpa.org/~/media/Files/Safety%20information/Public%20educator...

Contact your local fire department for additional home safety tips and information!

*Note: The information in this article was compiled from various sources. These suggestions are not a complete list of every preventative or loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace additional safety manuals or the advice of another qualified professional(s). We make no guarantee of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.