AUTHOR: Susan McKelvey

Electrical image

NFPA and ESFI Stress Importance of Electrical Safety during National Electrical Safety Month

National Electrical Safety Month is an annual campaign sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) that raises awareness of potential home electrical hazards, the importance of electrical fire safety, and the safety of electrical and non-electrical workers. NFPA actively supports this campaign each May, recognizing that electricity helps make our lives easier, but its potential for shock and fire-related hazards are often taken for granted. Computers, kitchen appliances, heaters, fans, air conditioners – any equipment powered by electricity has the potential to be involved in an electrical fire. As the vast majority of people remain at home in response to the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of working professionals and students have left their offices and classrooms to continue their work from home. This means more family members are now online, watching television, and using appliances all at once, and for longer periods of time. During National Electrical Safety Month, NFPA and ESFI are reinforcing that simple steps can greatly reduce electrical hazards, such as learning the proper way to plug in appliances, safeguarding electrical outlets in the home, and more. Here are safety tips and guidelines we're asking residents to follow: Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they can get damaged. Never put more than one plug in each receptacle. An outlet may have one or more receptacles – one to receive each plug. Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage in a lamp or other light fixture. Check the sticker on the lamp to determine the maximum wattage light bulb to use. Residents should also have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including scheduling electrical inspections when buying or remodeling a home. Even during this time of social distancing, electricians are still working and considered essential businesses in every state that has issued a shelter-in-place order. It is critical that residents call the utility company or a qualified electrician immediately if they experience any of the following: Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers A tingling feeling when touching an electrical appliance Discolored or warm wall outlets A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance Flickering or dimming lights Sparks from an outlet Electricity is a leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. Consequently, during National Electrical Safety Month, electrical and non-electrical workers are encouraged to participate in safety training programs that focus on personal protective equipment, safe work practices, and risk assessments to help avoid electrical injuries, deaths, and OSHA violations, as outlined in NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC) and NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. For additional tips and resources including infographics, fact sheets, and videos about electrical fire safety, visit NFPA's electrical safety webpage. Information about electrical codes and standards, and worker safety training, can be found on NFPA's electrical solutions webpage. As all of us continue to navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA's response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.
Toy chest

Young Girl Hides in Toy Chest during Recent Home Fire, Underscoring Critical Importance of Proper Education around Home Escape Planning and Practice

Image Source: Snohomish County Fire District 7, Facebook According to a Firefighter Nation article and other local news reports, a young girl in Monroe, Washington recently hid in a toy chest in response to a home fire. Fortunately, Snohomish County Fire District 7 firefighters found her in time to get her out safely. However, this incident underscores the fact that everyone - adults and children alike – needs to learn how to plan for a home fire so they can get out quickly and safely. A home plan that's been developed and practiced by all members of a household ensures that everyone has the skill-set and know-how to protect themselves in a fire situation. Even children as young as three and four years old can be empowered by these efforts to take swift, appropriate action. Home escape planning and practice also helps parents and caregivers figure out in advance who they're responsible for assisting in a fire situation, including young children, older adults and/or other household members who need assistance escaping safely. In absence of advance planning, people tend to make decisions that inhibit or even eliminate their ability to escape safely. As the vast majority of people continue to stay at home during the current COVID-19 pandemic, this challenging time presents local fire departments and safety officials with a unique opportunity to encourage households to develop a home escape plan and practice it. Along with being a family activity that gets everyone working together, it's an effort that has potentially life-saving impact. And where the risk of home fires remains higher while people continue to stay at home (and continue to do more cooking and heating, and use electrical equipment), being adequately prepared in the event of a home fire is more important than ever. Families with young children are a particularly captive audience right now, as they work to keep everyone busy, engaged and learning – they're actively seeking out games, activities and lesson plans. Take advantage of NFPA's free educational resources, many of which can be easily shared with your communities on social media, emails, websites and other online platforms. Steps like these can prevent the dangerous actions people often take when they aren't properly educated about what to do in fire situation.
CookingBanner.jpg

NFPA Urges Added Caution around Home Fire Safety during COVID-19 Pandemic

As the public largely remains at home in response to COVID-19, NFPA is urging everyone to use added caution around home fire safety.   Cooking, heating, and electrical equipment are among the leading causes of home fires each year. As people continue to stay at home and engage in these activities, it's critical that they recognize where potential hazards exist and what can be done to prevent them.   Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and is responsible for nearly half (49 percent) of all reported home fires involving cooking equipment. Moreover, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires, meaning that home cooking fires occur most often when people aren't keeping a close eye on what they're cooking.   As many households are now dealing with unusual routines and out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, such as kids home from school and parents working from home, there's greater potential for distracted cooking.   NFPA statistic show that heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires, resulting in an average of 52,050 home fires each year. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment is involved in an annual average of 35,100 home fires.   For much of the country, heating systems are still in use and in many cases, for more hours than usual. In addition, with everyone at home, people may be using the same outlets to charge phones, laptops and other digital equipment, which also presents a fire hazard.   With these concerns in mind, NFPA reminds the public to use best practices for staying fire-safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond:   Cooking Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop. Make sure all handles are turned inward, away from where someone can grab a hot handle or tip a pan over. Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, refrain from using the stove or stovetop. If you have young children in your home, create a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.   Heating Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet (one meter) away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater. Have a three-foot (one meter) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters. Never use your oven to heat your home. Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters. Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company.   Electrical When charging smartphones and other digital devices, only use the charging cord that came with the device. Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed or on a couch. Only use one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time. Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used. Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use. Use a light bulb with the right number of watts. There should be a sticker that indicates the right number of watts.   In addition, smoke alarms should be located on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. Test them monthly to make sure they're working. NFPA also strongly encourages households develop and practice a home escape plan to ensure that everyone knows what to do in a fire and can escape quickly and safely.   For a wealth of NFPA resources and information on home fire safety, visit www.nfpa.org/Public-Education.

Maryland State Fire Marshal Reports Increase in Home Cooking Fires as Residents Follow “Stay at Home” Policies

As the public has largely remained at home in response to COVID-19, NFPA has anticipated that higher-than-normal use of home cooking, heating, and electrical equipment would likely result in an increase of associated home fires. An online story posted yesterday on WTOP News, a Washington D.C.-based radio station, reinforced these concerns, reporting that Maryland fire departments have been receiving more calls related to cooking fires in recent weeks. “Now that we have people home, we knew this was going to happen. We have seen an uptick in fires,” said Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci. Geraci expressed concerns around usage of heating equipment as well, noting that one man recently died using an oven as a heater; he also pointed to higher use of electrical equipment. “A lot of people are online, watching TV — they've got new devices that they're doing their homework on and they're starting to use the multi-plug outlets and those types of things, and we're starting to see those fires as well,” Geraci said. While NFPA can't track the number of calls fire departments have been receiving over the past few weeks, it's likely that other states also are experiencing a higher volume of fire-related calls. As departments across the country work to address these and other fire and life safety issues in their communities, NFPA is continuing to provide information and resources that can help support their efforts on multiple fronts during this challenging time. A recent blog provides NFPA tips and recommendations for preventing cooking, heating and electrical equipment fires. Also, check our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages regularly for new fire safety messages and information you can quickly and easily share through your social media platforms.
CookingBanner.jpg

NFPA Urges Added Caution around Home Fire Safety during COVID-19 Pandemic

As the public largely remains at home in response to COVID-19, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is urging everyone to use added caution around home fire safety. Cooking, heating, and electrical equipment are among the leading causes of home fires each year. As people continue to stay at home and engage in these activities, it's critical that they recognize where potential hazards exist and what can be done to prevent them. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and is responsible for nearly half (49 percent) of all reported home fires involving cooking equipment. Moreover, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires, meaning that home cooking fires occur most often when people aren't keeping a close eye on what they're cooking. As many households are now dealing with unusual routines and out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, such as kids home from school and parents working from home, there's greater potential for distracted cooking. NFPA statistic show that heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires, resulting in an average of 52,050 home fires each year. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment is involved in an annual average of 35,100 home fires. For much of the country, heating systems are still in use and in many cases, for more hours than usual. In addition, with everyone at home, people may be using the same outlets to charge phones, laptops and other digital equipment, which also presents a fire hazard. With these concerns in mind, NFPA reminds the public to use best practices for staying fire-safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: Cooking Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop. Make sure all handles are turned inward, away from where someone can grab a hot handle or tip a pan over. Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, refrain from using the stove or stovetop. If you have young children in your home, create a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.   Heating Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet (one meter) away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater. Have a three-foot (one meter) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters. Never use your oven to heat your home. Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters. Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company.   Electrical When charging smartphones and other digital devices, only use the charging cord that came with the device. Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed or on a couch. Only use one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time. Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used. Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use. Use a light bulb with the right number of watts. There should be a sticker that indicates the right number of watts.   In addition, smoke alarms should be located on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. Test them monthly to make sure they're working. NFPA also strongly encourages households develop and practice a home escape plan to ensure that everyone knows what to do in a fire and can escape quickly and safely. For a wealth of NFPA resources and information on home fire safety, visit www.nfpa.org/Public-Education.
Coronavirus cooking safety image

As the Public Continues to Stay Put in Response to COVID-19, the Potential for Home Cooking Fires Increases

The public at large has been urged to stay at home, restaurants and bars are closed, and grocery stores are working diligently to keep shelves stocked. All this points to a lot more cooking in homes than usual in the weeks (or maybe even months) ahead, and that could mean an increase in home cooking fires and burns. Cooking is the leading cause of U.S. home fires year-round, with 49 percent of all reported home fires involving cooking equipment. Moreover, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires, meaning that home cooking fires occur most often when people aren't keeping a close eye on what they're cooking. As many households are now dealing with unusual routines and out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, such as kids home from school and parents working from home, the potential for distracted cooking may increase. All these factors make it critically important to remind communities about best practices for cooking safely. Fortunately, by following some simple safety precautions and guidelines in the kitchen, people can continue to cook safely while doing their part to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop. Make sure all handles are turned inward, away from where someone can grab a hot handle or tip a pan over. Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, refrain from using the stove or stovetop. If you have young children in your home, create a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried. NFPA offers a wealth of additional information and resources on home cooking safety, including safety tip sheets and other materials that can be shared online and through social media. We encourage you to use these messages to help reduce the risk of cooking fires in your community, and/or feel free to share our social media content posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
1 ... 11 12 13 14 15

Latest Articles