Electrical malfunctions are the fourth most common cause of structure fires in the US, accounting for around 7% of all incidents or roughly 24,000 fires per year. Texas ranks second in the US for fire-related fatalities.
Thankfully, while not all fires are preventable, there are steps home and business owners can take to prevent electrical fires. The experts at SERVPRO, a professional water cleanup and fire damage restoration company serving Lago Vista, TX, and the surrounding areas, are here to share how.
Tips to Prevent Electrical Fires in Texas
Complete Regular Wiring Inspections
Electrical wiring can wear out over time, eventually leading to an increased fire risk. Having a professional electrician inspect wiring, outlets, and breaker or fuse boxes is one of the best ways to prevent electrical fires, especially in properties over ten years old. Considering replacing wiring that appears:
- Worn out
It’s also best to schedule repairs if there are any signs of wiring damage, such as blinking lights, frequently tripped breakers, sparking, or melting plastic smells.
Assess Plugs for Appliances
The plugs on appliances can also become damaged over time. Broken plugs present a shock hazard and may overheat, leading to a fire. When examining plugs, assess the number of devices plugged into each outlet.
Outlet overload via the use of extension cords or power strips can lead to sparking and appliance malfunction. Ensure that the total load of all plugged-in electronics doesn't exceed 80% of the amperage of the circuit.
Consider Surge Protectors
Power surges are another common cause of circuit overload that can lead to an electrical fire. Property owners can take steps to reduce the dangers associated with power surges by using surge protectors. These devices not only decrease the risk of an electrical fire but also protect electronics from damage.
Watch the Placement of Flammable Items
Sometimes, all an electrical fire needs to start is the presence of a flammable object—like a pillow—too close to an electrical outlet, appliance, or plugged-in device, such as a charging cell phone. Take steps to avoid a fire by keeping rugs, blankets, and even cleaning supplies away from sources of electricity.
What to Do in the Event of an Electrical Fire
First, start by putting out the fire or evacuating the building, depending on the current size of the blaze. Having an extinguisher or fire blanket in an easily accessible location is a vital step in minimizing fire damage.
Once the fire is out, file an insurance claim. Electrical fires can lead to extensive damage, including:
- Structural damage
- Smoke, ash, and soot damage
- Water damage from sprinkler systems
Given this, to make repairs, you may need a fire damage restoration company that can also handle residential and commercial water damage and mold removal.
Get Help Handling Fire Damage Restoration in Texas
The steps above can help reduce the probability of an electrical fire, but some common causes of structure fires are unavoidable.
In the unfortunate event a fire does occur, fire restoration companies, as well as specialists in secondary damage, like emergency water restoration companies and mold remediation companies, can be an invaluable resource. Some contractors, like SERVPRO, can handle all the above.
The professionals at SERVPRO offer reliable fire damage restoration, water removal, mold cleanup, and residential and commercial cleaning services. Their crews have access to professional-grade equipment and are on-call around the clock. For more information, call (512) 318-2202.