How to Prevent Electrical Burns and Fires in the Home

 It has been seen that hundreds of electrical accidents take place each year, of which some of them are fatal. Most electrical fires and burns are caused by ill-maintained or poorly installed wiring.  However, it is important to note that most of these accidents and fires are avoidable – Electrical fires do not only damage your property but can also harm you or your family as well.

It is eminent to note that home users do not understand the risks involved in electrical problems that can lead to fire and burns and possible death.

However, It is paramount to be extra cautious when around electricity, because accidents are prone to happen. There are a lot of the don’ts around electricity that we consciously ignore or pay little attention to.

Exposed or damaged wires or cables, are often neglected because we assume that it is not harmful or dangerous. It might be surprising to know that taking your phone to the bathroom, is dangerous and can cause a fire hazard because electricity and water don’t mix?  Nevertheless, there are ways to prevent electrical hazards from occurring, if only we start paying attention to the dos around electricity.

What are electrical Fires?

Electrical fires are fires caused by faulty electrical outlets and old outdated appliances. Most electrical fires are started by faulty appliance cords and switches – some other electrical fires are caused by running cords under rugs. Also, removing the grounding plug from a cord so it can be used in a two-prong electrical outlet can also cause a fir

What is Electrical Burns?

 Electrical burns are injuries caused by an electrical current. This occurs as a result of electricity passing through the body and causing damage to the internal organs and tissues. Electrical burns may only cause surface damage to the skin; however, most of the times, there will be severe damage to the deep tissue under the skin. In severe cases of electrical burn, the electricity can strain the heart, cause shock to the brain and injure other organs.

Causes and Types of Electrical Burns/Fire

 Electrical burns can be caused in different ways, you can incur electrical burn from touching live and exposed wire, children inserting their fingers into electrical sockets, short-circuiting and falling into electrified water or lightning strikes. The types of electrical burns are divided into six categories.

Read also: Easy ways to prevent electrical Hazards

Note: An electrical burn/fire victim can suffer from any of the combinations of these categories:


  • Low-Voltage Electrical Burn: Power source of 500 volts or less, which produces electrical burn, is classified as a low-voltage burn. This type of burn can’t cause damage to the tissue present along its path expect at the point of contact. These electrical burns are superficial, mild or can also be severe depending on the duration of contact.


  • High Voltage Electrical Burn: This type of burn is extremely severe and occurs when the victim comes into direct contact with the high voltage supply. External burn injuries that occur in this type of electrical burn can cause damage to the skin and sub-dermal tissues.


  • Flash Electrical Burn: Flash burn produces intense heat and light which can result in severe burns in a fraction of a second. The burns which are produced cover a large area and are mostly superficial and the tissues under the skin are usually unaffected or undamaged.


  • Arc Burn: This type of burn is produced when electrical energy passes from a high-resistance area to a low-resistance. In this type of electrical burn, the heat which is produced can be very high, up to 4,000 degrees Celsius, and is hot enough to ignite the victim’s body and vaporize metal. This type of blast causes severe injuries and can throw the victim off balance.


  • Flame Electrical Burn: This type of electrical burn occurs from coming into contact or touching objects, which got ignited through an electrical source in association with arc and flash burns.


  • Oral Electrical Burns: Oral Electrical Burns are suffered mostly by children from sucking or biting on electrical cords. The electrical current usually passes from one side of the mouth to the other side and can result in deformity of the mouth or face.


How to prevent Electrical Burns/Fire


  • Put socket covers on all the unused electric plugs in your home.


  • Don’t allow your child to bite, touch or suck on wires.


  • Cover or fix wires that are exposed. Replace damaged electric cords.


  • Use safety cords, such as ground interrupters or circuit breakers.


  • Keep electric machines away from your child’s reach.




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