Each year people are injured and killed by home electrical fires. These fires result from both large electrical system failures and homeowner errors such as the improper using of the extension cords or overloading circuits. Most electrical fires can be avoided if you only take the proper safety precautions. For any other cases, having the proper planning and safety equipment in place can help avoid deaths and injuries. In the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, there was a dreadful disaster at Grenfell Tower that has cost lives of over 79 individuals and displaced hundreds of people. This total may rise and as electricians, we are fully aware of the dangers that fault electrical supplies can lead to. (Are condolences to those affected by this disaster). At the moment, it does appear that the fire started

Image of Grenfell TowerIn the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, there was a dreadful disaster that has cost lives of over 79 individuals and displaced hundreds of people. This total may rise and as electricians, we are fully aware of the dangers that faulty electrical supplies can lead to. (Are condolences to those affected by this disaster). At the moment, it does appear that the fire started due to a faulty fridge on one of the lower floors, it will take several months to find the initial cause of the fire, but at the moment it appears to be an electrical one.

Take a look at the following electrical fires and the lessons that resulted from each.

  1. The MGM Grand in Las Vegas suffered a massive electrical fire in 1980 that injured 700 people and killed 87. This fire spread quickly through wallpaper, plastic mirrors and other flammable materials throughout the entire 26 story building. The majority of all deaths were from toxic fumes and smoke. If the casino had an automatic sprinkler system in the casino area of the building, it could have stopped the fire from spreading the way it did. If you are moving into a high-rise building or staying in a hotel, make sure they have sprinkler systems.
  2. An apartment building in London caught on fire in 2009 as a result of an electrical fault in an outdated portable television. Although the fire began on the 9th floor, all victims were on the 11th floor, with many being rescued. One of the biggest complaints of survivors was that the apartment design was similar to that of a maze, making it difficult for them to get out of. It is for this reason that you should inspect make a plan for any and all escape routes from where you live. In addition to this, plan a safe meeting space outdoors to ensure that you can quickly find family after you have escaped.
  3. Fire At Belgium Department StoreIn 1967, a department store in Belgium caught on fire, killing 322 people. Although the fire is commonly attributed to anti-American arson, the reports have shown that it was the result of an electrical fault. Whatever the cause of the fire, it can be seen as a simple lesson in fire safety. The shoppers that were in the store received no warning from smoke alarms, and there were very few fire extinguishers to be found. Install smoke alarms in your home and regularly ensure that they are in good working order. They could eventually save your life.
  4. Four people were killed after an electrical fire ignited a Christmas tree in 2007. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common occurrence. If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure to choose a fresh tree and keep it water. Also, avoid overloading extension cords and regularly inspect your lighting for damage. Finally, unplug all lights before going to bed or leaving your home.

Although these fires were very tragic, it is important to learn from the mistakes that were made in either causing the fire or reacting to it. With a few simple precautions and the proper planning, most fires can be either avoided or survived.

Professional electricians state that the earlier a situation is attended to, the better it will be to avoid problems in the future. Simple electrical faults such as flickering bulbs have caused more than house fires. They have even caused deaths, and the most unsuspecting persons are children.

The first step lies in knowing how to spot when you have an electrical problem. If you keep changing fuses every other day, then you need to have your whole circuit system checked. Fuses that keep getting a blown show that your circuits are drawing too much current. The blown a fuse may have saved you, but the situation needs fixing.

Too many electrical appliances in the home can also cause electrical issues. If you have more than six appliances which operate at the same time you need to get an electrical to confirm whether everything is in order. This is imperative, especially if for instance bulbs flickers or the power goes off when you use more than one appliance at the same time.

Any time you touch wiring, sockets or switches and feel a slight shock do not ignore it for a tingle from the electrics. You should never feel anything when you touch a switch or when you plug in an appliance. The tingle could one day become an electrical shock and cause fatal damage to you.

Old homes also have the tendency of having electrical issues. The wiring system is ancient and constant changes over the years overload the system. If your home is over 20 years old, then get an electrical system overhaul. Upgrade it to modern systems to keep home safe.

A Very Old Junction Box

Diagnosing an electrical problem that is not so obvious can be very difficult when you’re not an expert. For instance, if the trip switch is constantly being triggered, you may not be able to easily tell which circuit or appliance is faulty. In contrast, an experienced electrician would be able to identify the problem in a short space of time and provide a safe and effective solution.

Is it An Emergency?

It is worth noting that you will typically pay more for emergency electrical services than you will pay for a scheduled appointment with a professional. As such, it is important to determine whether you are dealing with an actual emergency, or whether you can wait a while and save some dollars. For instance, if the refrigerator or freezer stops working, all the food in it is at risk, which may amount to hundreds of dollars. In such a case, emergency services would be necessary.

Electrical systems are safer than ever before. With some good wiring, education and common sense, you can avoid many of the most common sources of electrical accidents. In fact, you probably avoid many of these potential mishaps every day without even realising it. You don’t take a bath or shower while using a hair dryer for example. While this example may seem common sense, an electrician can give many examples of electrical accidents. Here are a few of the most common:

Home Wiring Systems

It is much harder for the average homeowner to avoid accidents that are related the wiring in your house. This can be anything from having an improperly grounded system to having a system with outdated components, to damaged wires. Regardless of what is the cause of your problem, damaged, old or erroneously installed home wiring systems can lead to electrical shock or fire. In most cases, a local electrician can quickly test your electrical system to ensure its safety.

Cords and Plugs

  • Cords and plugs are one of the most common causes of electrical accidents. In fact, they are responsible for more deaths each year than any other electrical component. You should follow these guidelines:
  • Never use a cord or plug that appears damaged. If there is any visible wear on the insulation, including tears or burn marks, do not use the cord.
  • Never repair a damaged cord with electrical tape. This will not provide the insulation necessary for safety.
  • Do not use extension cords for a permanent power solution.
  • Never conceal extension cords under carpeting or anywhere else. This can lead to unseen damage.
  • Always use extension cords that are rated to handle the appliances that are plugged into them.

Water Safety and Electrics

As a result of safety-minded electrical standards, GFCI outlets must be used in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, outdoors and anywhere else that may frequently be exposed to moisture. If you live in a home that does not have this type of outlet, get in touch with an electrician to have your current outlets replaced as soon as possible. These outlets are designed to cut off the flow of power whenever a short or other electrical issue is detected.

One of the greatest things that you’re supposed to do protect yourself from electrical injury is to treat all electrical power sources with the respect that they deserve. This means that you should avoid plugging as many items as you can into one socket. You should adhere to all of the warnings and labels, such as those on your light fixtures. Do not try to plug a 100-watt bulb into a 60-watt socket. Most importantly, call an electrician right away if you believe that you may have old or outdated electrical equipment. A few small steps could save you from a catastrophic accident.

Contact Bryden Electrical if you’re uncertain of the state of your electrics, or if you would like reassurance that your home or flat passes all the current safety tests.