We rely on electricity every day whether we're turning on a light, charging our phones or microwaving dinner. Electricity is a fire-related hazard. That's why it is important to take precautions to prevent electrical fires in our homes.

Statistics show that December is the most dangerous month for electrical fires. The weather is cold and the days are short, meaning more heating and lighting appliances are used around the home.

Download the Stay Safe Sheet: Electrical Safety to learn more.

Reduce the Risk of Electrical Fires

Be on the lookout for warning signs
  • Always keep an eye out for potential problems, including plugs and sockets that feel hot to the touch 

Call a qualified electrician or your landlord if you have:

  • Recurring issues with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
  • Discoloured or warm wall outlets
  • A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Sparks from an outlet
Protect children and pets
  • To avoid shock, burns or electrocution, ensure children and pets do not place electrical cords in their mouths or place objects in receptacles (i.e., a butter knife in a power outlet)
  • Make sure all receptacle outlets and switches have faceplates
  • Keep electrical tools away from children
Keep areas clear of cords
  • Never run cords under rugs, carpets or mats as they can fray or snap, unnoticed
  • Avoid running cords across doorways to prevent tripping
  • Electrical appliances, equipment and cords should be kept at least 6 feet away from water
Maintain cords and appliances
  • Inspect your home for hidden electrical hazards
  • Check electrical cords to make sure the wires are not damaged, cracked or loose
  • If cords need to be repaired, take them to a professional repair shop, hire an electrician or replace it with a new item
  • Extension cords should not be used in place of permanent wiring
  • Always use an Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) approved cord
Prevent burns and injuries
  • Do not use any appliances or extension cords with frayed wiring where the lead enters the plug, or exposed wires
  • Do not plug several appliances into one socket as this can cause an overload, leading to a short circuit and/or fire
  • Always use the correct wattage when fitting a light bulb in a lamp as the bulb can overheat or short circuit, causing an injury and/or fire
  • Avoid handling electrical devices when you are wet
  • Do not swim during a thunderstorm
Operate electric portable space heaters safely
  • Keep the space heater at least 3 feet (1 metre) away from anything that can burn
  • Place the space heater on a solid, flat surface
  • Make sure the space heater is equipped with auto shut-off so that in the event of it tipping it over, it turns off
  • Plug space heaters directly into the wall outlet; never use an extension cord
  • Keep children away from space heaters
  • Turn off and unplug space heaters when you leave the room or go to bed
  • Avoid using electric space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water
  • Don't dry wet items (such as socks, clothing, mittens/gloves, towels, or shoe felts) on space heaters
Report downed power lines
  • See a downed power line? Stay back at least 33 feet (10 metres)
  • Report the exact location of downed wires to 9-1-1 immediately 
  • Never touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed wire
  • If your vehicle makes contact with a downed line, stay inside until help arrives