Another common cause of deadly house fires is faulty wiring, and overloaded circuits. As we’ve mentioned before, the wiring in kitchens and bathrooms should include ground fault circuit interrupters, and bedrooms should be wired with arc fault circuit interrupters. You’ll want to check for these when buying a house. Old and worn out wiring is dangerous, and if your house is a few decades old, you should have its electrical system inspected.
It may need to be upgraded or replaced. If you’re worried about being cheated by an unethical contractor who recommends work that isn’t necessary, talk to friends and relatives, and have them recommend some reliable electricians you can trust. Don’t ignore it for fear of being ripped off. And no matter what condition the electrical system is in, if not used properly, it can cause a fire. A major source of problems is light bulbs. Many people never give the wattage much thought. Some people feel that if a light’s not bright enough, they can just use a higher wattage bulb in the socket and solve the problem. That’s not a good idea. Every light bulb socket should have the maximum wattage allowed labeled on it, and you should follow the guidelines. Seventy five and one hundred watt bulbs in sockets meant for sixty watt bulbs can, and do cause fires. It’s fine to use a lower wattage bulb than is recommended, but for safety’s sake, never exceed the maximum light bulb wattage on the socket.
Overloaded circuits are another big home safety problem. It’s easy to hook up too many appliances to too little electricity to do the job, but it’s also dangerous. You should always be aware of the power load of all the appliances hooked up to one circuit, and never exceed the capacity. Multi-outlet adapters have their place in homes, but only when used properly. They should never be used for appliances that require a lot of power.
If you’re constantly having trouble with the lights dimming, or fuses blowing, you’ve got a safety problem that needs fixing. Either the wiring is bad, or a circuit is overloaded somewhere. Don’t allow this situation to persist; investigate it and fix it. The same thing goes for extension cords. If they’re too flimsy for the job, you’re asking for trouble. You should never use an extension cord outside unless it was specifically designed and sold to be used outdoors. Any electrical appliances or devices that are malfunctioning or making strange noises should not be used, but repaired or discarded. If you ever do encounter an electrical fire, and the fire is small enough, unplug the device or appliance if possible. Then douse it with a fire extinguisher designed for electrical fires. If you don’t have one, or the fire is too big, get out of the house and call the fire department. You should never throw water on an electrical fire – you run a good risk of electrocution by doing so. Treat your electrical appliances and wiring with respect. Keep them well maintained, and adhere to power limits, and you’ll go along way toward making your home safe from fire hazards.
SHORTCUTS TO FIRE SAFETY ARTICLES:
Fire Safety and Electrical Appliances
Basic Smoke Detector Information
Types of Smoke Detectors
Basic Fire Extinguisher Information
Causes of Fires
Tips for Safe Use of Lighters and Matches
Explaining Fire Safety Rules to Children
The Importance of Fire Drills and Escape Plans
Kitchen Fire Prevention
Bedroom Fire Safety
Fire Safety Tips
Fireplace and Chimney Safety
Holiday Safety Tips
Miscellaneous Fire Safety Tips
EMT Test Practice Questions