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Each year, there are around 24,000 electrical fires in houses around the country. In 7 percent of those fires, someone is injured. 11 percent result in a death. The highest number of electrical fires occur during the months of December and January. This is probably because more people are using electrical appliances to heat their homes and holiday lights. No one likes to think about a fire occurring in the home of an older family member, but there are ways you can help them to prevent electrical fires.
Common Causes of Electrical Fires
Electrical fires can be caused by many different electrical problems. Some of the most common causes of electrical fires are:
- Malfunctioning Outlets and Appliances: Electrical outlets and outdated or broken appliances are major causes of electrical fires. Old appliances should be replaced. Outlets that aren’t working properly should not be used. Call an electrician to repair them.
- Light Fixtures: Electrical fires can originate in light fixtures when a bulb with a wattage too high for the fixture is used. They can also be caused by placing paper or cloth over a lampshade.
- Extension Cords: People often use extension cords incorrectly, resulting in a fire. They should not be run under carpets where they can fray and catch fire. In addition, extension cords should not be used with appliances.
- Space Heaters: Space heaters are often placed too close to flammable items, like curtains or beds.
Electrical Fire Prevention
Older adults and their family caregivers can prevent electrical fires by following these tips:
- Always use a qualified electrician to perform electrical repairs and upgrades in the home.
- Replace damaged or cracked extension cords.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets.
- Unplug small appliances, like toasters, when they are not in use.
- Keep lamps, bulbs, and light fixtures away from flammable items.
- Never cut the third prong, the grounding prong, off of a cord to make it fit an outlet. Instead, upgrade the outlet from a two-prong to a three-prong outlet.
- Make sure cords are completely pushed into the outlet.
- Use tamper-resistant outlet covers in unused outlets if the senior has dementia.
Elderly care providers can help to keep older adults safe from electrical fires, too. Elderly care providers can watch for situations that may cause a fire and correct them. An elderly care provider can monitor your aging relative to make sure they are using electrical appliances correctly and not in a manner that could cause a fire. Finally, if a fire were to occur, an elderly care provider can make sure the senior gets out of the house safely and call 9-1-1 for help.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care in Columbia, SC, please talk to our caring staff. Call today (803) 223-6173.