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Avoid Electrical Fires this Winter

Posted on: December 5, 2015

Whether it be holiday or cold weather-related, winter presents your home with a surprising number of risks for electrical fire. The safety of our consumers comes as a top priority, both while we’re on the job, and when we’re not! In an effort to help keep your person and property safe this winter season, we’ve compiled a list of the most common winter hazards, how to handle them, and what to do if something goes wrong.

Cold-Weather Fire Hazards

With chillier days comes some familiar and handy tools. But be careful, as mishandling these can lead to an electrical fire.

  • Power cords. With all of the lights, knick knacks, gadgets, and music that go along with the season, you’re likely to make use of power cords. Be very careful with these, and be sure to inspect for any cuts, nicks or damage to the cord.
  • GFCIs and outlet abuse. If your home isn’t equipped with GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupter), it may be a good idea to look into it. With the numerous electrical gadgets you’re likely to make use of, overloading can present a serious risk and you need to be prepared. Also keep mind of how much of a load you’re placing on any particular outlet.
  • Cooking. Between the stove, crock pots, a microwave, hand blenders, and any other equipment you may be using, there is a lot of room for accidents here. To minimize electrical load and reduce the risk of overloading, operate as few of these as possible at a time. Running everything all at once can cause some real trouble.
  • Space heaters. First and foremost, do not run a space heater in rooms you are not present in. leaving a heater unattended could mean a fire gets out of control before you can clamp down on the source. Additionally, be aware that these machines eat a lot of energy. Having too many active at a time could present risk.

Response: How to Handle an Electrical Fire Emergency

If you are dealing with, or suspect the imminent possibility of an electrical fire, contact the fire department immediately! The best response is to stay calm and get help.

  • Hot wires. With heavy-duty equipment, it’s a good idea to monitor the warmth of your cords. If they feel too hot (a little warmth is to be expected), unplug them right away, and desist in using the appliance.
  • Sparking. Sparking is a clear sign of potential fire. For complete safety, temporarily cut your main power and unplug the sparking appliance before restoring power. It would be wise to contact a professional or the fire department as well. It’s better to have a false alarm than to expose yourself to risk!
  • Fire extinguisher. Every home should be equipped with a class c fire extinguisher. Take care, and be aware that if the extinguisher cannot handle the flame within a few seconds, it won’t be able to contain the flame, and you are now in an emergency situation.

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