Helpful hints to prevent electrical fires - | WBTV Charlotte

Helpful hints to prevent electrical fires

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Last week a fire heavily damaged a home on the corner of C and First Streets in Salisbury.  Investigators determined that the fire was sparked by an overloaded electrical outlet. 

Salisbury Fire Marshal Terry Smith is offering some helpful advice to keep residents and property safe:

As we become more and more dependent on technology, we are tethered ever tighter to electricity. It powers our computers, lights our homes and brews our morning coffee. Because electricity can be a reliable friend, we sometimes forget the incredible power it has.

According to the non-profit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical fires were involved in an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires in 2007 to 2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths and 1,518 civilian injuries, with $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

Such fires can be prevented by treating electricity and the devices that use it with respect. The Salisbury Fire Department is urging all residents to get grounded in the basics of electrical safety and help reduce the number of electrical fires in our community. Here are just a few simple things you can do:

  • When you are buying, selling or remodeling a home, have it inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • Replace cracked and damaged electrical cords.
  • Only plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  • Avoid pinching cords against walls or furniture or running them under carpets or across doorways. This can cause a fire.
  • Use extension cords for temporary wiring only.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
  • Call 911 immediately if you have:
    • recurring problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers.
    • a tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance.
    • discolored or warm wall outlets.
    • a burning smell or rubbery odor coming from an appliance.
    • flickering lights.
    • sparks from an outlet.
To learn more about what you can do to keep your home safe from electrical fires, please visit
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