Topic: Electrical


Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires between December and February, with one-fifth of all home heating fires occurring in January

Home heating equipment is the leading cause of U.S. home fires during the months of December, January and February, when nearly half (48 percent) of all U.S. home heating equipment fires occur. January is the leading month for home heating fires; one-fifth (20 percent) of all home heating fires happen during this month.  According to NFPA’s latest heating equipment statistics, there was an annual average of 48,530 fires home heating fires between 2014 and 2018, resulting in an estimated 500 civilian deaths, 1,350 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.  During the coldest months of the year, when we see the largest share of home heating fires, it’s critical that people understand when and where home heating fires tend to happen so that they can take the needed steps to minimize those risks. Space heaters were the type of equipment most often responsible for home heating equipment fires, accounting for more than two in five fires, as well as the vast majority of associated deaths and injuries. Fireplaces or chimneys were involved in approximately three in 10 home heating equipment fires. Other leading types of home heating equipment fires included central heat systems and water heaters, with each accounting for approximately one in 10 heating equipment fires. A failure to clean equipment was the leading cause of home heating fires, with creosote build-up in chimneys presenting a particular issue. Fires in which a heat source was too close to combustible materials caused the largest shares of civilian deaths, injuries, and direct property damage. Fortunately, the vast majority of heating fires can be prevented by making sure heating equipment is in good working order and monitored carefully. NFPA offers these tips and guidelines for safely heating your home this winter: Heating equipment and chimneys should be cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet (one meter) away from all heating equipment, including furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters. Always use the right kind of fuel, as specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters. Create a three-foot (one meter) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters. Make sure space heaters are in good working order and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. Fireplaces should have a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container, which should be placed outside at least 10 feet away from your home. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (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. Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are located throughout the home; test them monthly to ensure that they’re working properly NFPA offers a wealth of home heating safety tips, information, and resources to help better educate the public about ways to safely heat their homes. In addition, NFPA’s “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign with the U.S. Fire Administration works to promote a host of winter safety issues, including home heating.

NFPA’s 125th Anniversary Conference Series is Unveiled, replacing traditionally scheduled plans for 2021 Conference and Expo®

With the continued uncertainty of live events stretching well into 2021, NFPA has announced that the 2021 NFPA Conference & Expo® (C&E) will not happen as traditionally scheduled and instead will be replaced with the 125th Anniversary Conference Series, a year-long, targeted, virtual experience. Given the continued threats posed by the pandemic, holding an in-person event of C&E’s size and scope is not a safe option. Consequently, NFPA is switching gears so that we can fully devote our efforts to creating a new, virtual experience that lives up to our audiences’ expectations while ensuring the safety of everyone who attends and participates. The new conference series will feature education sessions for specific areas of expertise, networking events, and product showcases throughout 2021, culminating with the return of an in-person 2022 event in Boston that celebrates the association’s 125th anniversary. In the months ahead, the 125th Anniversary Conference series will digitally deliver an innovative host of resources, information, events, and activities that reflect our continued efforts to leverage technology to significantly advance the way safety information is delivered and used to reduce loss across the globe. The NFPA annual business meeting will take place virtually this year during the week of June 21 ,2021. The annual technical session will take place electronically at a date to be announced. Additional details on the technical session can be found at For more information and the latest updates, visit
Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

What you do makes a difference: Wildfire Community Preparedness Day 2021 launches to help protect homes and neighborhoods

Now more than ever, it’s vital that people take steps to protect their homes from wildfire. That’s why NFPA andState Farm® are hosting the eighth annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (Preparedness Day) event on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Financial support from State Farm will once again enable NFPA to provide 150 applicants from across the country with $500 awards to complete a wildfire risk reduction project. Research show there are proven methods to prepare properties to withstand the devastating impacts of a wildfire. NFPA encourages project award applicants to focus on eliminating ignition hazards in the Home Ignition Zone – the home and everything right around it. Simple, low cost projects such as clearing dead leaves, debris, and pine needles from roofs and gutters, keeping lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches, removing anything stored underneath decks or porches that could burn, and other similar actions are being actively supported by NFPA and State Farm on Preparedness Day and can be easily undertaken by most homeowners. Given the current challenge to holding large in-person gatherings, Preparedness Day can be the ideal time for individuals and families to focus on improving fire protection and safety where it can make the biggest difference – around your home and property. Get ready to make a difference and get involved in wildfire risk reduction where you live. Plan your project and apply now through February 26, 2021 for an award.  

Engaging your community in fire safety

It’s New Year’s Resolution time, and for Fire & Life Safety (FLS) educators, that means helping our communities adopt fire safety habits.  According to the NFPA Report on Fire Loss in the U.S., 2019, local fire departments responded to almost 1.3 million fires in 2019. These fires caused roughly 3,700 civilian deaths, 16,600 civilian injuries and $14.8 billion in property damage. A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 65 seconds, and a home fire occurs every 93 seconds.  Those of us in the world of fire and life safety (FLS) education live and breathe these types of statistics and are constantly trying to find ways to engage our community to keep fire prevention top of mind and integrated into daily life.  From smoke & CO alarms to home escape planning, to safe cooking and heating practices, our goal is for our community members to make fire safety as much a habit as brushing their teeth.  Anyone who has tried to stop biting their nails or tried to start an exercise regimen knows that it takes more than just knowing something is good/bad to create motivation and action towards starting or breaking a habit.  It’s not enough to just know and agree that smoke alarms and home escape planning are important to home fire safety.  Getting people to adopt fire safety behaviors requires a number of interrelated factors to fall into place. One such factor is the way in which people consider their actual risk of harm from fire.   Just as people “know” texting and driving increases the risk of a crash, many still engage in this dangerous behavior because they’ve somehow managed to skew the risk in their favor, ie. “it’s only for a second,” “I have quick reflexes,” or “I’m good at multitasking.”  So too with fire safety in which people often assume they will have plenty of time to escape a fire, have the ability to put out a fire, or overestimate their ability to detect a fire on their own.  Fire & Life Safety educators use a variety of methods to address this perception of risk by sharing local data, personal stories, and using fire incidents as ways for people to connect the dots to their own lives.  NFPA's Community Tool Kits provide a variety of tools to support these efforts in using data, information and provision of actionable resources with the goal of adoption of fire safety behaviors.  Resolve to keep promoting fire safety as a daily habit for your community with the help of these toolkits which provide a multi-dimensional to approach behavior change with a variety of tactics and community partners.   Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and NFPA on  Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division at NFPA.
house with lights on

Home Electrical Safety the Focus of NFPA Faces of Fire Electrical Hazard Awareness Campaign Video

As 2021 winter season kicks off and with more households continuing to work and study from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, we must be ever vigilant about home fire safety. This includes understanding the dangers of electricity related to our devices and equipment powered by it. NFPA and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors have introduced the fifth video interview of their six-part campaign series, Faces of Fire/Electrical, that features the personal story of a woman who, as a young girl, was seriously injured in an house fire, demonstrating the need for continued education and awareness about electrical hazards at home.  In the spring of 1959, then five-year old Pam Elliott suffered third degree burns over 50 percent of her body from a fire ignited by a damaged lighting fixture that destroyed her family home. She spent months during her elementary and high school years undergoing reconstructive surgery to help restore the function of her hands, arms, and legs, and the appearance of her injuries. Equipment and devices powered by electricity as well as faulty structural wiring are potential sources for electrical fires. We all know how much electricity makes our lives easier but today we expect more out of our electrical systems than ever before. This increased need often puts undo burden on these systems, especially in aging homes that are not set up for all our modern equipment and lighting. The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign reminds us about potential home electrical hazards, how to recognize the warning signs, and the action steps homeowners need to take to reduce associated risks, including contacting a local qualified, licensed electrician who can work with us to find and correct fire safety hazards in our home before a serious incident occurs.  While many electrical injuries prove fatal, those that are not can be particularly debilitating, oftentimes involving complicated recoveries and lasting emotional and physical impact. Today, Pam shares her personal burn story to advocate for home fire sprinklers and home fire safety and she speaks for the most vulnerable people in house fires including infants, children, the elderly, and the disabled. Overall, the Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign works to help build a safer world by teaching others and supporting the burn survivor community in advancing lifelong healing, optimal recovery, and burn and injury prevention. We sincerely thank Pam for sharing her story with us. You can view all of the videos, including the latest interview with Fire Chief Luis Nevarez, from California,  Amy Acton, Chief Executive Officer of the Phoenix Society, and  the first two videos of our series featuring Dave Schury and Sam Matagi, on our dedicated campaign webpage. There you will also find free resources to download and share, including fact sheets, tip sheets, infographics and more, in addition to information about electrical safety in both the home and in the workplace. See Pam’s video and read more about her work by visiting the Faces of Fire/Electrical website at
Dried out Christmas tree

With nearly one-third of Christmas tree fires occurring in January, prompt removal from homes is critical

Saying goodbye to your Christmas tree may not be easy, but here’s a compelling reason to remove it as soon as possible: Nearly one-third (31 percent) of U.S. home fires that begin with Christmas trees occurs in January. The longer a natural tree is kept up after Christmas, the more likely it is to dry out and ignite; a dried-out tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds. That’s why we’re strongly encouraging people to remove Christmas trees from their homes promptly after the holiday season. For this year in particular, when many people began decorating their homes earlier than usual, trees have been in homes for several weeks, presenting an increased fire risk as the days go by. NFPA’s latest Christmas Tree Fires report, which reflects annual averages between 2014 and 2018, shows that 160 home structure fires began with Christmas trees, resulting in two civilian deaths, 14 civilian injuries, and $10.3 million in direct property damage. According to the report, fires that begin with Christmas trees are a very small but notable part of the U.S. fire problem, considering that they are generally in use for a short time each year. Some Christmas tree fires occur in chimneys or flues, suggesting that people may burn the tree to dispose of it. With these concerns in mind, the U.S. Forest Service offers this caution: “Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove! Pines, firs and other evergreens have a high content of flammable turpentine oils and burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and risk a chimney fire.” To safely dispose of a Christmas tree, NFPA recommends using the local community’s recycling program, if possible; trees should not be put in the garage or left outside. Also, following are tips for safely removing lighting and decorations and storing them properly to ensure that they’re in good condition the following season: Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet, as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord, increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire. As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires. Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags or wrap them around a piece of cardboard. Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness. For more information on home fire safety all winter long, visit “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires,” a winter safety campaign NFPA promotes annually with the U.S. Fire Administration.
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