Follow Checklist and Review Your Home's Safety During National Electrical Safety Month

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Follow Checklist and Review Your Home's Safety During National Electrical Safety Month

Posted: 05/01/2015
Each year, about 28,000 residential electrical fires kill an average of 360 Americans, injure another 1,000 and cause $995 million in property losses.

That's according to the National Fire Protection Association, which - along with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Electrical Safety Foundation International - is offering safety tips to follow throughout the year.

Now is a particularly good time to prioritize going through your home safety checklist, said Greg Taylor, the City of Knoxville's Chief Electrical Inspector.

"The month of May is National Electrical Safety Month, when the NFPA, the ESFI and other electrical safety proponents, like the City of Knoxville Electrical Inspections Bureau, remind and encourage everyone to check around the house for electrical hazards that could lead to a fire or electrical shock," Taylor said.

The City conducts about 200 fire safety inspections each week on new construction and renovations - everything from a small home addition to a new apartment complex or a large commercial building.

Taylor recommends that all homeowners and renters during Electrical Safety Month take an hour or less and go through this Consumer Product Safety Commission checklist: The checklist explains why certain conditions pose risks and recommends steps to take if there's a problem.

Meanwhile, national and City fire-safety proponents offer these tips:

• Call an electrician immediately if you have problems with blown fuses or circuit breakers, unusually warm outlets or switches, or - from within a wall - if you detect a sizzling sound or burning odor. (Fires starting with an overtaxed electrical circuit are responsible for 38 percent of the fatalities attributed to electrical fires.)

• Owners of older homes should have a licensed electrician examine their electrical systems - and every home, regardless of age, should be examined once every 10 years.

• Talk to your electrician about installing Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters in your home. An AFCI detects dangerous electrical arcing and will shut down the circuit before a fire can ignite. (The NFPA identified electrical arcing as the probable cause in 72 percent of electrical fires.)

• Buy electrical products from legitimate retailers and avoid products with no identifying marks. Dangerous counterfeit electrical products are surprisingly commonplace.

• Use caution and understand if your handyman skills are limited. Consult a professional when necessary.