Electrical safety in the home

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.


NFPA helps Dan Doofus get grounded in the basics of electrical safety.

Safety tips
  • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.

  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • See all of NFPA's safety tips.
Facts & Figures
  • Roughly half (48%) of home electrical failure fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment in 2007-2011. 
  • In 2007-2011, 46% of electrical failure home fires involved other known type of equipment. The leading other known type of equipment involved in home electrical failure fires are washer or dryer, fans, and portable or stationary space heater.
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 22,410 reported home structure fires involving electrical distribution or lighting equipment in 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 325 civilian fire deaths, 950 civilian fire injuries, and $817 million in direct property damage.
  • Some type of electrical failure or malfunction was cited as factor contributing to ignition for 74% of electrical distribution or lighting equipment home structure fires.
Source: NFPA's "Electrical Fires," by John R. Hall, Jr., April 2013 

Also see: Printable fact sheet on home electrical fires(PDF, 59 KB)
Keep Your Community Safe and Energized
See NFPA's online toolkit of support materials to help fire departments conduct successful electrical safety campaigns in their communities. It includes media templates, PSA cartoons, safety tips, fact sheets and much more. Electrical safety messages in American Sign Language


Get an overview of the care that needs to be taken when using electricity, the proper way to plug in appliances, and what to do if fuses blows or circuit breakers trip.

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471 USA
Telephone: +1 617 770-3000 Fax: +1 617 770-0700