8 Ways to Prevent An Electrical Fire | Reader's Digest

8 Ways to Prevent An Electrical Fire

Decrease your chances of an electrical fire with these helpful steps.

from Householder's Survival Manual

1. Never overload an electrical receptacle with extension cords or three-way adapters. If you need to plug a lot of things into a single receptacle, use a power strip.

2. Never run electrical cords under carpets or rugs, over nails, in traffic areas, or where there is chance of wear.

3. Don’t misuse extension cords. Never use a standard household extension cord for a major appliance or a heat-producing appliance; instead use a heavy-duty appliance cord that can carry the load.

4. When purchasing any electrical device, choose only one that carries the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) rating.

5. Don’t pull on an electrical cord to unplug it. Grasp the plug firmly and pull out straight so you don’t bend the prongs.

6. Replace any cord or plug that is cracked or discolored or feels hot to the touch when in use. If the original wire or plug is polarized (one prong is wider than the other), or if it has a third grounding prong, replace it with similar equipment.

7. Call an electrician if your lights flicker and your appliances run sluggishly, or if you have a fuse that repeatedly blows or a circuit breaker that trips often. These are signs that the system is overloaded.

8. Don’t use a bulb with more wattage than a lamp or fixture is rated to accommodate, or the unit will overheat.