More in this section

Prevent electrical fires

This article was published in October 2019 and may be outdated.

Using electrical equipment safely can prevent the majority of electrical fires. Be sure you and your family practice the safe use of electricity to prevent an electrical fire happening in your home:

  • Don’t overload outlets with too many plugs. Overloaded circuits can cause a fire.
  • If you find yourself consistently plugging in high-power appliances into a power bar, consider asking an electrician to install another outlet nearby.
  • Ensure that all cords are in good working condition. A frayed or damaged cord could be hazardous.
  • Make sure the cord is adequate for the job. Match the wattage or amperage on the appliance with that on the cord before using.
  • Don’t run cords under carpets or other obstructions. This may damage or overheat them. Overheated cords cause insulation to melt or burn. Frayed or damaged cords are also dangerous for this reason.
  • Keep smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in good working condition and locate them strategically in your home.

Despite the best preventative efforts, fires can occur. Follow these guidelines in case of a fire:

  • Call 911 immediately. If the fire is small, use a fire extinguisher to douse the flames. Otherwise, get everyone quickly out of the house, and wait for the fire department.
  • Electrical fires are different from other fires in that they have a source of electricity that is still conducting current. It’s important to remember to use a chemical fire extinguisher rather than water when putting out an electrical fire.
  • Never use water to extinguish an electrical fire as it can result in serious electrical shock.