4 Massive Electrical Fires and The Lessons They Teach

Each year, more than 1,100 people are injured and 310 people killed by home electrical fires. These fires result from both large electrical system failures and homeowner errors such as the improper use of extension cords or overloading circuits. Most electrical fires can be avoided if you only take the proper safety precautions. For any other cases, having the proper planning and safety equipment in place can help avoid deaths and injuries. Take a look at the following electrical fires and the lessons that resulted from each.

1. Install Sprinklers

The MGM Grand in Las Vegas suffered a huge electrical fire in 1980 that injured 700 people and killed 87. This fire spread quickly through wallpaper, plastic mirrors and other flammable materials throughout the entire 26 story building. The majority of all deaths were from toxic fumes and smoke. If the casino had an automatic sprinkler system in the casino area of the building, it could have stopped the fire from spreading the way it did. If you are moving into a high-rise building, or staying in a hotel, make sure they have sprinkler systems.

2. Have an Evacuation Plan – An apartment building in London caught on fire in 2009 as a result of an electrical fault in an outdated portable television. Although the fire began on the 9th floor, all victims were on the 11th floor, with many being rescued. One of the biggest complaints of survivors was that the apartment design was similar to that of a maze, making it difficult for them to get out of. It is for this reason that you should inspect make a plan for any and all escape routes from where you live. In addition to this, plan a safe meeting space outdoors to ensure that you can quickly find family after you have escaped.

3. Install and Maintain Your Smoke Alarms

In 1967, a department store in Belgium caught on fire, killing 322 people. Although the fire is commonly attributed to anti-American arson, the reports have shown that it was the result of an electrical fault. Whatever the cause of the fire, it can be seen as a simple lesson in fire safety. The shoppers that were in the store received no warning from smoke alarms and there were very few fire extinguishers to be found. Install smoke alarms in your home and regularly ensure that they are in good working order. They could eventually save your life.

4. Be Careful at Christmas

Four people were killed after an electrical fire ignited a Christmas tree in 2007. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common occurrence. If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure to choose a fresh tree and keep it water. Also avoid overloading extension cords and regularly inspect your lighting for damage. Finally, unplug all lights before going to bed or leaving your home.

Although these fires were very tragic, it is important to learn from the mistakes that were made in either causing the fire or reacting to it. With a few simple precautions and the proper planning, most fires can be either avoided or survived.