Safe electrical systems for older adults
Adults over the age of 65 are more than twice as likely to die from a house fire as the general population, and this risk increases with age. Homes with aging electrical systems are at a heightened risk for electrical fires, posing a serious risk for older adults who have remained in the same home for an extended period of time. Our increased demands for energy can overburden an older home’s electrical system causing fires or electrocutions.
Follow these easy safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International to identify and prevent electrical hazards in your home:
- Regularly check all cords, outlets, switches and appliances for signs of damage or wear.
- Use extension cords only temporarily.
- Be sure that outlets that are not overloaded with too many devices. They can overheat and start a fire.
- Look and listen for warning signs of an electrical problem such as outlets and switches that are warm, or make crackling, sizzling or buzzing sounds.
- Always replace fuses or circuit breakers with the correct size and amperage. And make sure all circuits are labeled correctly.
- Consider having your breakers upgraded to state-of-the-art AFCI circuit breakers. Keep the electrical panel accessible so you can quickly shut off power in an emergency.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Place alarms inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Test them once a month, change the batteries at least once a year, and replace the alarm itself every 10 years.