It is a home owner’s biggest fear, a house fire. The unfortunate event could result in a total loss of property or even the loss of a life. Though they are most frequently accidents, there are a few common causes of a house fire.
The leading causes for residential fires include cooking, heating, smoking, electrical, and open flames such as unattended candles. These are considered accidental, but there may be a liability issue within the situation. Others are intentionally set, which with any property damage or injury, it is deemed a criminal matter.
Among the primary causes of house fires are electrical fires. This type of destruction is responsible for $817 million in direct property damage each year. Not only does it have a devastating economic effect, but electrical fires also claim the lives of seven people in the United States every day. 25% of electrical fires begin in the bedroom.
Causes of House Fires
We often take life’s latest technologies for granted. Electricity is not meant to be taken advantage of and should be monitored because, if it is mishandled, it can become very dangerous. Causes of electrical fires may include the following:
- Faulty electrical outlets
- Outdated appliances
- Worn or frayed cords
- Outdated or poorly installed wiring
- Old breaker boxes
- Removing the grounding plug to adapt it to two-prong outlets
- Placing a cord under rugs
- Light fixtures with bulbs that exceed the wattage recommended
- Loose connectors
- Cloth or paper placed over a lamp shade
- Powerful machines and appliances plugged into an extension cord
- Overloaded extension cords
Winter Electrical Fires
During the winter season, there is an increase in the amount of fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 30% of all home fires and 38% of home deaths occur during the winter months of December, January, and February. One of the main explanations for this rise is the escalation of demand for heat. In Central New York, where we leave, the demand for heat extends well into the months of March and April as we still are experiencing frigid temperatures outside.
Specifically, in the winter season, there are three key causes for electrical fires:
Electric Utility Lines
Inclement weather like snow and ice often cause power outages and electrical fires. A fire may occur when electrical utility lines lean or fall due to the heavy pressure of the snow or an untrimmed tree. Short circuits can ensue which causes fires to start at the line nearby and in linked buildings.
As stated by the NFPA, between 2007 and 2011, space heaters attributed to one-third of home fires caused by heating systems. They also were responsible for four out of five home heating fire fatalities. Alone, electric heaters, extension cords, and combustible items are dangerous, but together, they are deadly.
The holiday season brings about various decorations including electric lights. Too many lights can be very dangerous, especially if they are all plugged into the same extension cord. While all in good holiday spirit, these decorations may overheat and cause a house fire.
Electrical Fire Prevention – Tips We Should Be Doing In Our Homes
Many electrical fires can be averted. Burn and explosion accidents are not to be taken lightly so we suggest following these tips:
- Replace old wiring or outdated electrical equipment
- Inspect the electrical system in your home and determine what needs updating and replace if damaged
- Hire a quality and experienced electrician
- Do not overload extension cords
- Do not plug appliances into power strips or extension cords
- Do not run extension cords under rugs
- Do not alter plugs to fit into outlets
- Use the proper wattage light bulbs in all lighting fixtures
What to Do in the Event of a Fire?
You’ve heard of the term “Stop, drop, and roll!” and you probably practiced it thousands of times since Kindergarten. However, in the terrifying moment of a fire, here are a few other tips to remember.
- First and foremost: Call 911
- Stay low to the floor to evade smoke and fumes
- Determine a safe exit course
- Test the heat of doors with your hand before opening them
- If you are stuck, attempt to block smoke
- Cooperate with police and medical and safety professionals
- If you or a loved one are injured and you believe the fire is a result of negligence, Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for a case evaluation
Electrical Fire Injuries
Electrical accidents are very dangerous and can cause serious burn injuries or can injure a person by electric shock both at home or in the workplace. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 40,000 residential fires per year are the result of electrical accidents. In the U.S., 50,900 fires each year are accredited to electrical failure or failure, causing 490 deaths and 1,440 injuries.
There are two major types of electrical injuries:
This occurs when an extremity such as a finger, hand, or arm, is placed across an electrical current. Because the body is made up mostly of water, it is a good conductor of electricity. Electric shock can range from mild to severe. Mild shock results in a slight tingling sensation. Moderate electrical shock may be more difficult to pull away from as it causes the muscles in the body to contract. Severe electric shock triggers respiratory or heart failure.
This is when the severe electric shock causes the tissue to burn. Electrical burns can be internal or external. Internal burns happen when the electric current goes through the bone and burns deep tissue in the body.
Do I have a case?
Oftentimes, electrical fires can be prevented. If the fire is caused by a defective product, you may be able to seek compensation from the manufacturer or other responsible parties for product liability. It also may depend on the structure itself. For instance, if the landlord has not kept up the property with due regard to fire codes, they may incur some liability. There are many aspects to consider and the course of action should be left to an experienced personal injury attorney.
If you or a loved one was injured in an electrical fire, we at Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman urge you to contact us. Many electrical fires could have been prevented and The People’s Lawyer is here to help. Determining responsibility and legal recourse is best left for an experienced personal injury lawyer. While we hope it never happens to you, if you do find yourself in a situation where you have experienced the devastating loss and harm caused by an electrical fire, remember you are not alone. Contact us today.
CONTACT US FOR A FREE CASE EVALUATION
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