Electrical fires are rare, but they are incredibly dangerous. Over 80% of electrical fires spread from the source of the fire, and they can result in the destruction of entire buildings. The worst part is that most electrical fires can be prevented. If your facility is serious about fire prevention, follow this guide for electrical safety.
Electrical fires are typically caused by:
- Faulty or improperly installed wiring
- Overloaded circuits, outlets, and extension cords
- Defective switches, plugs, and outlets
- Misuse or lack of maintenance for lighting fixtures
These issues can almost always be prevented with proper maintenance and monitoring at your facility. Follow these seven steps to reduce your chance of electrical fires:
- Find out if the current electrical system is up to building code. This should be the first step you take, preferably before you move into the new commercial building. Even if you are not required to update, it is wise to do so if your electrician recommends it.
- Have your electrician inspect all wiring. An inspection on wiring should occur every ten years or as your electrician recommends. Wiring deteriorates over time, and if not maintained it could cause several different issues, including fires.
- Replace wiring for appliances. If wiring to your appliances and electronics show signs of wear, replace them right away. You may need a technician to inspect wiring for appliances such as commercial kitchen or specialty office equipment. The same goes for the plugs to different appliances, as they can deteriorate over time.
- Be careful with cord placement. It is not recommended to run cords under anything flammable such as carpets. Placing cords in areas of high foot traffic can also increase the risk of damage and fraying that leads to electrical fires.
- Use the right bulbs and shades for lighting fixtures. Lighting fixtures can cause electrical fires if they are covered by flammable materials such as drapery. Light shades can help prevent this even when you’re not paying attention. It’s also important to use the right light bulb wattage for all commercial lighting fixtures.
- Add additional outlets rather than extension cords. Overloading outlets or extension cords can be dangerous, especially if you rely on them to power your electronics daily.
- Use surge protectors. Surge protectors are specifically designed to protect against electrical fires. They can prevent sparks, and also save your appliances and electronics from electrical issues.
Every step you take to prevent electrical fires is a step toward your staff and customers’ safety. To learn more about electrical safety and maintenance, visit our resource center.