Repairs, Maintenance and Renovations
October, 6 2023 Published by London and Area Chapter
Electrical Systems—Are You At Risk For A Fire?
From the CCI Review 2023/2024-1 August 2023 issue of the CCI London Chapter
There are many common hazards at home, especially in these days of work still being conducted at home. Unsafe use of electricity can be very dangerous and an electrical fire can happen at any time. There are many sources to help make the unit and the property as safe as possible.
We all have a responsibility to help reduce the risk of electrical fires in the unit for our safety and that of others.
- Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they are can get damaged.
- Never put more than one plug in each receptacle. An outlet may have one or more receptacles – one to receive each plug.
- 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.
- Light bulbs in the living area of your home should have a shade or globe for protection. Light bulbs can get very hot and cause a fire if something that can burn is too close to the bulb.
- Heat-producing appliances such as a toaster, coffee maker, iron, or microwave draw a lot of electricity. Plug only one heat-producing appliance in each outlet to prevent wiring from overheating.
WARNING SIGNS – CALL FOR HELP
It's critical that you call your utility company or qualified electrician immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
- A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
- Discolored or warm wall outlets
- A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
- Flickering or dimming lights
- Sparks from an outlet
Keeping a watchful eye on our surroundings can go a long way to helping reduce the risk of possible injury and damage from fire. For more information on electrical safety in the home, please visit NFPA's electrical safety webpage.
PREVENTIONS TO AVOID ELECTRICAL FIRE
- Follow-up when a fuse or circuit breaker blows. Don't just reset the breaker or replace the fuse, find out what caused the problem.
- Purchase appliances that are approved by the Canadian Standards Association or ULC. Appliances without CSA/ULC approval could be unsafe.
- Put lamps on level surfaces, away from curtains or other flammable items.
- Allow adequate ventilation around electronic components that generate heat, such as TV's and audio equipment.
- Unplug small appliances like toasters and coffeemakers when you're not using them.
- Use only weatherproof lights and other electrical fixtures outdoors.
- Be aware that heat generating appliances draw more power than others.
- Don't overload electrical outlets. This means the notorious "outlet octopus" must be avoided. That's when several electrical cords are plugged into the same outlet. Avoid plugging more than one appliance into an outlet and there should not be more than two operating appliances plugged into the same circuit. Heat generating appliances such as toasters and electric frying pans use a lot of current. If you overload the circuit, it will get hot and possibly short out or catch fire. Have damaged cords or outlets fixed immediately. If water gets into an electrical appliance, have it serviced before you use it again.
- Replace a fuse with one that has a rating higher than required.
- Use appliances or lamps with cracked or frayed cords.
- Run extension cords under carpets or mats.
- Crimp the cord.
- Overload an outlet. Prevent the dreaded "Octopus Outlet".
- Put heat generating appliances closer than 1 metre to anything that can burn.
- Use light bulbs that exceed a lamp's maximum wattage.
- Clip off the round grounding prong from an electrical plug.
- Use an electrical device or appliance after liquid has been spilled on it, before having it checked thoroughly.
All condominiums in Ontario must adhere to the Ontario Fire Code. This code ensures all occupied buildings in Ontario have appropriate fire protection equipment and that they are properly maintained, and that fire emergency plans are kept up to date and routinely circulated to residents. If in any doubt, the Office of the Fire Marshal and how it supports fire protection and prevention in Ontario is a valuable tool for condominium boards to be aware of: https://www.ontario.ca/page/office-fire-marshal
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