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Electrical safety in the home

Man plugging into an outlet

Electricity helps make our lives easier but there are times when we can take its power and its potential for fire-related hazards for granted. 

NFPA actively supports National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign in May sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which works to raise awareness of potential home electrical hazards, the importance of electrical fire safety, and the safety of electrical workers. This year’s theme is: Understanding the Code that Keeps Us Safe.

News release: NFPA, ESFI stress importance of electrical safety during National Electrical Safety Month

To help reduce your risk, NFPA and ESFI recommend that you have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including electrical inspections, when buying or remodeling a home. The following are additional tips residents can follow to help keep their homes safe from electrical fires:

  • Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they are can get damaged.
  • Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets in your home to reduce the use of extension cords.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. Check the sticker on the lamp to determine the maximum wattage light bulb to use.
Facts & figures
  • In 2012-2016, electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 35,100 reported home structure fire, on average, per year.
  • These fires involved equipment such as wiring, lighting, cords and plugs.
  •  Electrical distribution or lighting equipment ranked first in direct property damage, and third among the major fire causes in the number of home fires, and tied for third in home fire deaths and home fire injuries. 
Source: NFPA's "U.S. Home Structure Fires," report.

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

Sample social media posts

Use these sample electrical safety posts on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Our favorite cartoon, Dan Doofus learns the hard way all about electrical safety, so you don’t have to:

  • The leading areas of origin for electrical distribution and lighting fires are the bedroom (17%), attic (12%), and wall assembly (9%)

  • See all posts.

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.

In this presentation, an overview is given on 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.

*The NEC is the National Electrical Code. The NEC’s mission is to provide practical safeguards from the hazards that arise from using electricity. It is the most widely adopted safety code in the United States and the world, and it serves as the benchmark for safe electrical installations. 

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