By ROBERT S. MERRILL
Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 280 Americans each year. And many of these fires are caused by incorrectly installed wiring and overloaded circuits and extension cords.
Fires can be prevented. The following electrical fire safety tips can help maintain a fire–safe home this year, according to Scott Martin, Franklin County Fire District Fire Marshal. They are:
• Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring. Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
• Replace any electrical tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out, or gives off smoke or sparks.
• Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
• Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, like UL.
• Keep clothes, curtains and other potentially combustible items at least three feet from all heaters.
• If an appliance has a three–prong plug, use it only in a three–slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two–slot outlet or extension cord.
• Don’t allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons and hair dryers.
• Use safety closures to “child–proof” electrical outlets.
• Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
• Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
For more information on electrical fire safety, visit with Martin at the Preston Fire Station or the U.S. Fire Administration’s website.
This story is sponsored by The Preston Citizen Printing Services.
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