Fire safety tips for home plug-in devices

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Firefighters say structure fires can be caused by popular, everyday items in your home.

On average, U.S. fire departments respond to at least one home fire every 86 seconds. Officials say something as simple as a toaster, cell phone charger, or even popular plug-in air-freshener can become a hazard if not cared for properly.

“If the items are plugged in, there's always current traveling through the item which could cause the cord to heat up if the cord is damaged it could heat up and also cause a fire," said Mark Renderman, Altoona Fire Department Chief.

Items to be most cautious about are found right in your kitchen. "Kitchen fires are the leading cause of house fire injuries and many deaths. Officials say this is mostly due to human error but when you're not cooking, keeping your kitchen safe is simple.

"When you're done using your toaster, unplug it, a lot of people don't think that can cause a fire…but that's another item that if you're not using for several days there’s no reason to have current running through it.” Renderman says if you're done with a mixer or any other small appliances in the home or even a curling iron unplug it when you're done with it.

And a safety tip for those who use plug- in air fresheners designed to be left unattended.

"If you're using a plug in appliance or air freshener, make sure that the air freshener or the cord to the appliance is completely plugged in,” said Renderman.

He says if the item is not plugged in the entire way it creates arching between the metal and the outlet which will generate heat which could cause the cord and the outlet to fail, eventually starting a fire.
Officials say when it comes to home fires, statistics show half of them start in the kitchen so being extra careful with cooking appliances will help keep you and your family safe.

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