The National Fire Protection Association works to raise awareness of potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety during its annual campaign.

An estimated average of nearly 48,000 home structure fires caused by electrical problems were reported to U.S. fire departments, according to recent NFPA statistics.

These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, more than 1,500 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in property damage. Roughly half of these involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment.

“Any equipment that uses electricity like computers, dryers or fans could potentially be involved in an electrical fire,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of outreach and advocacy. “Fortunately, there are simple steps people can take to greatly reduce those risks, including contacting your electrician immediately if you notice any problems with your home’s wiring.”

The following are additional tips residents can follow to help keep their homes safe from electrical fires:

Only plug one heat-producing appliance into a wall outlet at a time. Unplug small appliances when not in use.

Install tamper-resistant electrical outlets if you have young children. If a replacement is not possible, install new protective outlet covers that don’t allow children to insert an object into the wall outlet.

Avoid putting cords in places such as under rugs and carpets or across doorways where they can be damaged or pinched by furniture.

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.

Check electrical cords often. Replace any that are cracked, damaged or loose.

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