In 2018, the U.S. Reached Record-high electrical use, generating almost 4.18 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity. And as people use more electricity to power their appliances and devices, they also increase their risk of an electrical fire.
In fact, electrical fires were the leading cause of loss in 2018, according to Grinnell Mutual’s Special Investigations department. Electrical mishaps caused 105 of 572 cases they investigated last year. Special Investigations also determined that other fires were caused by combustibles near a heat source (39) and cooking (26). A majority of fire cases they investigated had a determined cause of loss.
HOW DO ELECTRICAL FIRES START?
According to research by the National Fire Protection Administration, fires caused by electrical equipment – wiring, lighting, cords, and plugs – are the top cause of property damage in home fires in the United States. To prevent electrical fires, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these recommendations:
- Use the recommended wattage for bulbs in light fixtures.
- Place portable heaters on a stable surface and ensure they are out of the flow of traffic.
- Do not use electrical appliances that have odd smells, sparks, or smoke when you operate them.
- Replace cords that are damaged, cracked, or frayed.
- Replace outlets and switches that are warm or not working properly.
HOW TO PUT OUT AN ELECTRICAL FIRE
- Call 911
- If it is safe to do so, use a Class C fire extinguisher. Class C is the type of fire extinguisher designed for electrical fires. Never use water to put out an electrical fire.
- If it is safe to do so, shut off the power source.