Pittsfield Fire Chief Thomas Sammons held a press conference on Wednesday at the department’s headquarters in order to raise awareness on electrical fire safety measures and prevention. The press conference was held in the wake of several recent fires in the City of Pittsfield, in which four out of five were electrical-related.

“We had five significant fires in the span of nine days. We have small fires all the time; but these were big enough to pull hose lines and displace people. Four of them were electrical in origin. They weren’t all overloaded circuits, there were a variety of instances, but the root cause was electrical.” ~ Pittsfield Fire Chief, Thomas Sammons

 

Chief Sammons says that according to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are approximately 45,000 home electrical fires each year.

Sammons listed several steps that residents can take to stay safe during the winter months:

  • Overloaded power strips are a serious hazard. Never overload a power strip.
  • Never plug an extension cord into a power strip.
  • Never cover an extension cord with a carpet, they are for temporary purposes. Also, never staple them to anything.
  • Rule of thumb: If you use it to cook or refrigerate or if it heats or cools always plug it directly into a wall. (Examples include items such as a space heater, air-conditioner, refrigerator, or a microwave. Always plug them into a wall.
  • Space heaters need a 3-foot area free from combustibles (paper, plastic, and wood). It’s also important to make sure the heaters are on level ground.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended.
  • Never use your stove as a heat source.
  • Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
  • For those who rent, renter’s insurance is inexpensive and can prove to be invaluable in the event of a fire or other emergency.
  • If breakers are continuously tripping, have them checked out by a licensed electrician.

 

Here are some additional resources on electrical fire safety:

www.usfa.fema.gov

www.nfpa.org/public-education

https://blog.mass.gov/blog/safety/may-is-national-electrical-safety-month-learn-how-to-prevent-electrical-fires-in-your-home/

For more information, you can contact the Pittsfield Fire Inspection Bureau at 413-448-9764