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Burn Awareness Week: Province offers tips to avoid electrical fires

As temperatures dip, it’s important to stay safe while keeping warm inside.

The Province has partnered with Technical Safety BC and the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund to raise awareness about preventing home fires and injuries.

The annual Burn Awareness Week campaign kicked off on February 7th, and it runs until the 13th. This year’s theme is ‘Electrical Safety from Amps to Zap!’.

While it says electricity is not often given a second thought, the Province is reminding you to stay cautious and aware when plugging in devices to charge, watching TV, or snuggling under a heated blanket.

“Electrical burns are basically burns that result from an electrical current passing through your body and causing damage,” says Campbell River firefighter, Jeremy Fyfe.

“That can occur from touching live wires, from a young child putting something into a live electrical outlet, or even just from touching electrified water.”

Fyfe says this can result in not only burns to the surface of your skin, “but also deep tissue damage or even organ damage.”

According to the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), B.C. saw a total of 12 injuries and two deaths related to electrical fires last year.

In order to prevent electrical fires and burns, the Province urges you:

  • have all electrical work done by a licensed electrician;
  • only use one heat-producing appliance (e.g., coffee maker, toaster, space heater) plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time;
  • plug major appliances (e.g., refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens) directly into a wall outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used for major appliances;
  • check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets;
  • only use extension cords for temporary use. A licensed electrician can add more receptacle outlets so extension cords are not required; and
  • use a light bulb with the right number of watts. There should be a sticker on the light or lamp that indicates the correct wattage to be used.

The OFC has launched new social media channels, and it’s teaming up with Technical Safety BC and the BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund on a smoke-alarm giveaway via Facebook. Find more details here.

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