December Can Be Deadly: Preventing Home Electrical Fires

Overloaded Circuits and Poor Maintenance Results in Damages and Even Death

Dec 07, 2010, 08:00 ET from Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp, Inc.

FREMONT, Mich., Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- December is the deadliest month when it comes to home electrical fires.  Fire deaths typically increase during the winter months as a result of increased indoor activity, use of holiday lighting, heating and appliances, reaching their peak this month.  Each year, home electrical problems account for 67,800 electrical fires resulting in the death of 485 Americans, injuries to 2,305 people and $868 million in property losses(1).  Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: FMMH) wants homeowners to be aware of the increased risk of electrical fires during the winter months and be safe during the holiday season.  

These fires may be caused by electrical system failures, or defects in appliances, but the majority are the result of misuse and poor maintenance, incorrect wiring installation, and overloaded circuits and extension cords.  There are some simple steps that you can take to reduce your risk and prevent the loss of life and property in an electrical fire:  

  • Never overload extension cords or wall sockets.  Avoid connecting an excessive amount of holiday lighting and decorations to a single circuit whenever possible
  • Routinely check electrical appliances and wiring to look for signs of fraying.  Have worn, old or damaged appliance cords professionally replaced immediately or discard the item
  • Use electrical extension cords wisely and don't overload them
  • Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen
  • When buying electrical appliances look for products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
  • Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons and hair dryers
  • Keep clothes, curtains and other potentially combustible items at least three feet from all heaters
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord
  • Immediately shut off and professionally replace switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker. "Child-proof" electrical outlets with safety closures
  • Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, replace them. Replace any tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke
  • Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family

"An electrical fire in your home can result in catastrophic damage including loss of life and property," said Kurt Dettmer, vice president of marketing for Fremont Insurance.  "Statistics have demonstrated that as the weather turns colder, electrical fires increase.  We have already seen several devastating fires in the past several weeks, and December is the most likely month for an electrical fire to occur.  We want to make sure homeowners are taking precautionary steps to avoid the head and heart ache that a fire can cause."

About Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp, Inc.

Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp, Inc. (www.fmic.com) is the holding company for Fremont Insurance Company. Headquartered in Fremont, Mich., the company provides property and casualty insurance to individuals, farms and small businesses exclusively in Michigan. Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp's common stock trades under the symbol "FMMH."

(1) The United States Fire Administration (USFA)

SOURCE Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp, Inc.



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