Shining a Light on Electrical Fires

The misuse of electricity in Ontario causes over 3,000 fires each year. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded outlets.

Electrical Fire Facts

· Fire deaths are highest in winter months because the cold temperatures call for more indoor activities and increased lighting, heating, and appliance use.

· December is the most dangerous month for electrical fires.

· Most electrical wiring fires start in the bedroom.

· The home appliances most often involved in electrical fires are electric stoves and ovens, dryers, central heating units, televisions, radios, space heaters, and stereo equipment.

Causes of Electrical Fires

· Most electrical fires result from problems with “fixed wiring” such as faulty electrical outlets and old wiring.

· Many avoidable electrical fires can be traced to poor maintenance, overloading circuits, and running cords under rugs or in high traffic areas.

Safety Precautions to Prevent Electrical Fires

· When buying electrical appliances, look for products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

· Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.  Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.

· Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters.  Pay special attention to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.

· Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters or irons.

· Keep clothes, curtains, and other combustible materials at least 3 feet away from heaters.

· If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet - Never force it to fit into a two slot outlet or extension cord.

· Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. 

Electricity is something we all use every day.  Let's show it the respect it deserves and use it safely.