As Americans become more dependent on electricity in their homes, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, Quincy, Mass., is closely examining the electrical risks and hazards that may exist in older homes. Every year, fires that start in electrical systems or lighting equipment damage 24,000 homes and kill 320 people in the United States. In an effort to enhance public safety, the Foundation has conducted a thorough inspection of electrical systems and equipment in a small number of older homes across the country. That first-of-its-kind, detailed assessment included a look behind the walls of each home, along with testing of key electrical system elements.

“Our lives literally depend on the safe use of electricity in our homes,” says Jack Wells, chair of the foundation's Technical Advisory Committee that has been working on the study. “The sponsors of this study wanted to do all that we could to identify the electrical risks and hazards faced by people who live in older homes, helping homeowners address those issues. When the results of the study are available, it will provide great insight that will help save lives.”

The results of the Foundation's study will be released in early July along with public safety information that will help people and communities take action.

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