The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal promotes public awareness to prevent electrical burn incidents


Electrical Burns can be Prevented


SPRINGFIELD, IL – “Electrical injuries and fires are preventable if adults are proactive in making sure that electric equipment and outlets in the home are safe,” said Larry Matkaitis, Illinois State Fire Marshal. “It’s our priority to educate the public about simple steps to prevent electrical burns and other serious injuries from occurring.”

Nearly 1,000 people in the United States die each year as a result of electrical burns. Knowing the seriousness of the burns, seeking medical attention must be immediate. Electrical burns occur when a person is directly exposed to an electrical current, including an alternating current or a direct current. Shock related injuries may vary depending on the level of electrical exposure. Some electrical burns may look minor, but in many cases they can cause internal damage, especially to the heart, muscles or the brain. In those cases, electrical burns could be deadly.

In Illinois, 7,900 electrical related incidents were reported between 2009 and 2013. In 2012, 1,591 cases were reported and these incidents have resulted in 120 injuries, 8 fatalities and approximately $1.4 in property losses.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

OSFM recommends the following steps to prevent electrical incidents:

Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.

Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.

In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.

 The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is educating the public on the importance of electrical safety in an effort to prevent home fires, electrical burns and other serious injuries. Electrical related injuries and burns may result in serious tissue, nerve or muscle damage.