British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

January 31, 2011 09:00 ET

BC Safety Authority: Are You Wired for Safety?

NEW WESTMINSTER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 31, 2011) - Year after year, fire-related incidents account for the majority of the total incidents investigated by the BC Safety Authority's electrical safety officers. In 2009, more than 70% of all reported electrical cases involved fires. Some examples of these incidents include operating heaters left unattended, equipment placed too close to combustibles and overloading circuits.

In an attempt to prevent fires from destroying family homes and businesses, the BC Safety Authority (BCSA) provides the following electrical safety tips:

  • Keep electrical devices out of the reach of small children.
  • Look for water leaks that might enter electrical equipment or pool on the ground where you might have to plug in or operate electrical equipment.
  • Check for anything that is cracked, frayed or broken on extension cords, plugs, switches and light fixtures. In most cases, regulations require you to hire a licensed electrical contractor for repairs.
  • Avoid overloading circuits and only use certified power bars with surge suppressors.
  • Never run cords under or through rugs, carpets, doorways or windows where they can get damaged. Cords are made up of very thin wires which are bundled together. These wires are fragile and can break causing hot-spots inside the cord, which may cause a fire.

According to BCSA Electrical Safety Manager, Stephen Hinde, "the only way to completely protect your electronics from unusually high power surges or your home from an electrical fire is to unplug everything. When leaving your home unattended, only keep essential items such as refrigerators plugged in."

Hinde also suggests making the switch to LED lights. "Not only will LED lights consume less power," says Hinde, "they also produce less heat – which reduces the risk of fire. Always hire a licensed contractor to do the work with proper permits. Faulty wiring is a serious safety hazard."

Hinde recommends avoiding extension cord use, but if you must, here are some important reminders:

  • Make sure you're using the right type of cord for the location. There are different cords designed for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Check all cords to make sure that the cord ends are in good condition and that the cord itself isn't damaged.
  • Never staple a cord or permanently attach it to a floor or wall.
  • Avoid plugging a lot of cords into a wall outlet or into the end of an extension cord as this can be a fire hazard.
  • Do not force a three-pronged plug into a two-pronged outlet or cord.

The British Columbia Safety Authority keeps people safe by mandating the safe installation and use of technical equipment. BCSA also issues permits and licences, educates, and conducts on-site inspections in high-risk situations.

For information on hiring licensed electrical contractors please visit the BCSA website at: www.safetyauthority.ca/contact/find-contractor.

For information on related electrical safety issues, visit the BCSA web site at: http://www.safetyauthority.ca/safety-information/homeowners/electrical.

Sign up to receive an email alert when BC Safety Authority news is released. Go to (http://www.safetyauthority.ca/user/register).

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