Electrical Still A Top Cause of Home Fires
By: David Burtt and Amy Bonilla
Deadly home fires caused by faulty electrical wiring can strike anywhere. Bungalows, apartments, condos, or mansions can burn to the ground in a matter of minutes. Residential fires that start in the electrical system are 100% preventable.
In a recently released report, the National Fire Protection Association estimates that around 50,000 home structure fires a year are caused by electrical failure or malfunction. In 2011, 418 people died in home electrical fires. While the number of fires in the US has decreased from over 60,000 fires a year in 1995, the number of home fires caused by electrical failure is still the 4th leading cause of fires, after cooking equipment (43%), heating equipment (16%), and intentionally set fires (8%).
In fires caused by electrical failure, the most common source of ignition is distribution or lighting equipment (48%). Other appliances that started fires were fans, washers and dryers, and space heaters.
People were more likely to die from fires that started in a bedroom (22%), living room, family room, or den (20%), or a kitchen (14%). Fires most often occurred between noon and 10:00 PM, but were more likely to cause death during the sleeping hours of midnight to 8:00 AM.
The NFPA report also found that arcing appears to account for more of the fires than overheating due to overcurrent. Arcing was twice as likely to start a fire compared to overcurrent or overload. In fact, according to the data arcing could be six times more likely to cause home fires than overcurrent conditions. These figures strongly support the need for widespread use of Arc-Fault Current Interrupters.
Click here to see the entire report.
Click here to download a set of safety tips created by the NFPA, that you can download for customers.
Check out the following youtube videos to see what a house fire looks like.