The Delaware State Fire School reminds the public that May is Electrical Fire Safety Month.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, 51,000 fires occur each year that are traced to electrical causes. Estimates indicate nearly 500 deaths occur with more than 1,400 injuries.
Electrical distribution is the third leading cause of structural fires. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that electrical receptacles are involved in 5,200 fires every year, causing 40 deaths and 100 consumer injuries.
The National Fire Protection Association tells people to contact a qualified electrician if they experience any of the following: Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping breakers, a tingling feeling when they touch an appliance, discolored or warm wall outlets, a burning or rubbery odor coming from an appliance, flickering or dimming lights, or sparks from an outlet.
May also is National Pet Safety Month. Pets and wild animals have a part in starting roughly 700 home fires per year.
About three quarters of these fires were started by cooking equipment, fireplaces or chimneys, lighting or candles. Pets are curious; they can bump into, turn on, or knock over cooking equipment. This is also an issue with candles, lamps and space heaters. These items need their space.
Pets can be natural chewers, so owners should watch pets to make sure they do not damage electrical cords. Any cord problems should be checked by a professional.
If a fire does occur, people should escape the building first and never go back inside for a pet. As soon as firefighters arrive, advise them that there are pets inside and where they may be. When developing a wildfire or natural disaster evacuation kit for the family, don’t forget about preparing for pets’ evacuation also.
For more information regarding any home safety questions, contact Mike Lowe, public fire educator, Delaware State Fire School, at 302-242-5789, or go to www.statefireschool.delaware.gov.