Prevent home fires: Use electricity safey
BY SANDY MATHER Educational Services
Fire safety quiz:
1. What is the leading cause of home fires during the winter months?
a. heating equipment
b. holiday lights
2. The third prong of a three prong plug is to:
a. give the plug extra support when plugged in.
b. properly ground the plug, minimizing fire and shock.
c. fill the space in an outlet.
3. Never use water to put out an electrical fire.
a. True B. False
4. Turn off the clothes dryer at home:
a. if you plan to be gone 15 minutes or more.
b. if you plan to be gone an hour or more.
c. always no matter how long you are gone.
5. Most fires caused by children start in the:
6. What is the main reason that smoke alarms fail?
a. missing batteries
b. dead batteries
c. all of the above
7. What percentage of households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan?
a. 10 percent
b. 23 percent
c. 45 percent
8. Which of these is the leading cause of home fire deaths?
b. cooking fires
c. electrical fires
9. Which of these is the first material that starts to burn in a fire caused by smoking?
a. upholstered furniture
d. B and C
10. How many fires start in the kitchen?
a. 1 in 10
b. 3 in 10
c. 5 in 10
Answers: 1. A. 2. B, 3. A, 4. C, 5. C, 6. C, 7. B, 8. A, 9. D, 10. B
It's hard to imagine living without electricity. We use electricity in our lives for all sorts of things and in all sorts of ways. Homes today are brimming with state of the art technology, entertainment and computer equipment.
Electricity is a source of power and one of our most widely used forms of energy. Every day we use electricity to do many jobs for us - from lighting, heating and cooling our homes, to powering our televisions and computers.
However, as important as electricity is in our everyday lives, electricity can be a dangerous source of fire. Potential electrical fire hazards are everywhere. A build up of dust, trash and spider webs is an invitation for fire to start in the electrical system - something a bit of good housekeeping can greatly reduce the odds of happening.
Some electrical fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, bad wiring and overloaded circuits and extension cords.
Electrical fires occur more often during the winter months. Why? People spend more time indoors during the winter months, which requires an increase in the use of lighting, heating and appliances.
There are many simple steps that can help prevent the start of an electrical fire, such as:
- Use electrical extension cords wisely and don't overload them. Make sure they are not frayed or worn and never run them under a rug.
- Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
- If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn. Lightbulbs should never exceed the wattage marked on the lamp or fixture.
- Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
- When buying electrical appliances look for products which meet the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) standards for safety.
- Never connect one multi-plug outlet to a second one.
- Never use water to put out an electrical fire.
Finally, make sure you have a working smoke alarm and practice a home escape plan with your family.
* Make a list of ten items in your home that require the use of electricity. Write a fire prevention message for each of these items.
* Choose three different household appliances in your home. Find the UL safety label on each.
* Check out the electrical outlets in each room of your house. Did you find any of the outlets being used incorrectly? If so, how? Bring this to the attention of an adult in the house and fix it.