According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in an estimated 43,700 home fires in 2011. These fires caused 430 deaths, 1,620 injuries, and $1.5 billion in property damage. In half of the fires started by electrical failures or malfunctions some type of electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in ignition.
The good news is that many home electrical fires can be prevented if you are able to recognize the warning signs your home may be showing. The most important step you can take is to learn about your home’s electrical system. Once you are familiar with your system and how it works, you will be better able to identify potential hazards.
The following are some things you should know about your home’s electrical system:
The Electrical Safety Workbook provides an introduction to the basic home electrical system, as well as information to help you answer the above questions about your home.
The Home Electrical System Safety Video gives a brief visual overview of a home's electrical system components. It is also available in a Spanish language version - Seguridad del sistema eléctrico de la casa.