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Take a Safety-First Approach with Electronics Around Your Home This Fall

Ameren Offers Customer Safety Tips to Prevent Electrical Fires

ST. LOUIS (Nov. 2, 2023) – As temperatures begin to dip, local families are pulling out their electric blankets and twinkle lights to add a little comfort to their home. But embracing the autumn season also means being aware of the potential safety hazards that come along with keeping cozy. Home electrical fires are responsible for over 24,000 fires and nearly 300 home deaths each year in the U.S.

“November is a great time to do a walk-through safety check of electric appliances, cords, and heating equipment in your home in advance of the busy holiday season,” said Tim Frankenberg, fire safety engineer for Ameren. “The use of extension cords should be limited as much as possible. Checking a cord prior to use includes the overall condition, ensuring it is not overloaded and is plugged in all the way. Cords should never be hidden under rugs, between mattresses or under pillows.”

Electrical Fire Safety Tips

  • If lights are flickering or dimming randomly, there may be a loose connection or faulty wiring that needs immediate attention. If switches, outlets or cords are hot to the touch, or if fuses or breakers trip, the circuit is being overloaded, which is a fire risk.
  • Cords that are damaged, frayed or discolored should be discarded as they are a fire and shock hazard. 
  • Keep space heaters away from furniture, drapes, other electronics and high traffic living spaces. Make sure to only place them on level, non-combustible floor surfaces such as cement, wood or flat tile. Space heaters should ideally be turned off at night or while sleeping.
  • When it comes to kitchen appliances, only plug one heat-producing appliance, such as a coffee maker, air fryer or slow cooker, into an outlet at a time.
  • Plug major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, heaters and microwaves) directly into a wall outlet. Extension cords and power strips should not be used with these appliances.
  • Use extension cords only for temporary purposes. If using an extension cord outdoors, make sure it is approved for outdoor use.
  • Hire a qualified electrician to do electrical work at your home to ensure it meets codes and regulations.
  • Change your smoke alarm batteries when you set your clocks back for daylight saving time on Nov. 5. Review the date on the back of your detector and replace it if it is more than 10 years old.
  • You’re never too old for a fire drill! Discuss fire escape routes with the whole family, and if you have young children, practice different ways to get out of the house and identify an established meeting point outside.

Outdoor Electrical Safety Tips

  • Before starting an outdoor project, assess your surroundings, noting the location of overhead power lines and other utilities. 
  • Don’t attempt to trim trees yourself if they are located near a power line – you could put your life in danger in addition to disrupting the utility service.
  • Never use water or blower extensions to clean gutters near electric lines.
  • Avoid leaving holiday tree lights on when away from your residence; this includes both inside and outside trees. If you’re away on vacation, the last thing you want is a fire on your property.

Living and working safely is a key value for Ameren, and that extends to our customers. To learn more about how to keep you and your family safe, visit Ameren.com/Safety.

About Ameren Corporation
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric transmission and distribution service and natural gas distribution service. Ameren Missouri provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services, as well as natural gas distribution service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois develops, owns and operates rate-regulated regional electric transmission projects in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. For more information, visit Ameren.com, or follow us at @AmerenCorp, Facebook.com/AmerenCorp, or LinkedIn.com/company/Ameren