home sweet homeThe beginning of a new year often prompts positive lifestyle changes, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is encouraging people to keep electrical safety in mind while they strive for improvement in 2015.  

 In the United States, home electrical problems account for more than 51,000 fires each year, resulting in more than 490 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  The colder weather the New Year brings also leads to the increased use of electrical products, making people more susceptible to electrical fires, electrocutions and injuries. Luckily, there are simple precautions that can be taken to help prevent electrical fires and keep families safe throughout 2015 and beyond. 

“People make New Year’s resolutions with the hopes of improving their quality of life, and there is no better way to do that than by making sure their homes are free of electrical hazards that can be dangerous, even fatal,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner. 

Keep your home safe throughout the year by learning the basics of how home heating and electrical systems work, and making sure they are properly maintained with these tips from ESFI: 

  • Always have a qualified, licensed professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer instructions.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.  Smoke alarms should also be installed inside every bedroom.
  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a licensed, qualified professional.
  • Be sure circuit breakers and fuses are correctly labeled with their amperage and the rooms, circuits, or outlets they service.
  • Consider having a qualified, licensed electrician replace your standard circuit breakers with combination-type arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), which provide enhanced electrical fire protection.
  • Make sure ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are installed in your kitchen, bathrooms, workshop, basement, garage, outdoors, and any other areas where water and electricity are likely to come in contact.
  • Examine electrical outlets and replace missing or broken wall plates to ensure that wiring and components are not exposed. 
  • Childproof your home by installing tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs), which provide a simple, permanent solution to help prevent childhood shock and burn injuries from tampering with a wall outlet.

Visit www.esfi.org and www.holidaysafety.org for more tips and tools to help you keep your electrical safety resolution.