FIRE: Electric


Electric currents carried by wiring, switches, plugs and appliances generate heat. Excessive or uncontrolled heat can start fires. To help prevent electrical fires, know how to use and store plugs and electrical cords and take these precautions:

  • Don’t run cords under hay, bedding, or other combustible materials; also avoid placing cords across doorways or frequently traveled areas

  • Discard frayed or broken cords and never splice two cords together.

  • Don’t overload outlets or use extension cords in place of outlets. Call an electrician to install additional outlets as necessary.

  • Ensure plugs fit snugly in outlets to prevent shock and excess heat.

To prevent an electrical fire, learn to recognize the warning signs that indicate a possible wiring or electrical problem. Contact a licensed electrician immediately to examine and repair electrical problems if you experience any of the following issues:

  • Flickering or dimming lights

  • Switches or outlets that are hot to touch and/or emit an acrid odor

  • Discolored cords, outlets and switch plates

  • Repeatedly blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers


Understanding the common causes, warning signs and appropriate safety measures can help prevent an electrical fire. The most common causes for electrical fires are:

  • Incorrectly installed wiring

  • Overloaded circuits and extension cords

  • Defective or improper plugs, switches and outlets

  • Misuse and poor maintenance of lighting


Finally, consider a licensed electrician to inspect (especially structures prior to 1973) and make all repairs to ensure wiring is safe and to code.