According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, nearly 70 percent of the 400 electrocutions that occur each year could be prevented by using GFCI-equipped receptacles. Ground-fault circuit interrupters detect leaks of current from a circuit. Such leaks pose a dangerous risk of electrocution to users of electrical devices that are plugged in to non-GFCI outlets. GFCI outlets come with two buttons, “Reset” and “Test”.
The first easy way to fire-prone your home is to install GFCI-equipped receptacles in all wet areas such as kitchen, laundry room and garage. Wet areas refer to rooms in the home that have potential of mixing water and electricity. After installation by a professional electrician, test your outlet by pushing the “Reset” button and then plugging a lamp into the GFCI receptacle. Turn the lamp on and then push the GFCI’s “Test” button. The receptacle should turn the lamp off. Push the “Reset” button again and the lamp should turn itself on. If this does not happen with your lamp during testing, contact a licensed electrician to repair the outlet and help you prevent a possible fire hazard.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 15,500 house fires and 10 deaths occur each year due to lint-filled dryer vents. A fire caused by a clogged dryer vent is easily preventable. Prevent this fire hazard in your laundry dryer by emptying the lint catcher after each use. Also, clean out the vent and hose of your dryer once a month to get rid of lint that accumulates after a period of time.
The third fire hazard in your home might be especially dangerous around the holidays but it really is found in homes year-round. Approximately 2,000 people a year wind up in emergency rooms due to extension cord burns, shocks or being tripped on a loose cord. Pack up spare extensions cords after the holidays. Throw away old, cracked, frayed or damaged extension cords – they cannot be repaired and are a serious fire hazard. Untangle extension cords before use as coiled cords have an increased chance of overheating. Extensions cords also overheat if under rugs or blankets. Do not use nails or staples to tuck away loose extension cords as you may easily shock yourself.
The fourth way to fire-proof your home is to change the batteries in your smoke alarm. If you do not have smoke alarms throughout your home, add them immediately. Change the batteries twice a year.
Simple steps such as these will make your home a safer, more worry-free and fire-free place.