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1/17/2013 - Electrical fires peak in December, but risk remains high

The risk of electrical fires typically increases when winter arrives.

Many people may be happy to see December pass, a month that's typically chock-full of tasks Americans have to take care of. But fire officials are glad to see it go as well, as it's one of the deadliest times of the year when it comes to home electrical fires.

According to the United States Fire Administration, electrical fires are responsible for as much as $1.1 billion in property insurance losses each year. And a significant portion of the approximately 28,600 electrical fires that occur annually, on average, take place in December in residential homes.

"An electrical fire in your home can result in catastrophic damage including loss of life and property," said insurance expert Kurt Dettmer. "Statistics have demonstrated that as the weather turns colder, electrical fires increase."

With temperatures usually dipping even further in January and February, this means that the risk for electrical fires remains high, especially for those who use space heaters.

Homeowners can reduce the chances of starting off the year on the wrong foot by taking precautions when they're using these heaters, such as remembering to turn them off at night when no one's around, not allowing children to play or fiddle with them and ensuring that outlets are not overloaded, fire officials advise.

For more electrical safety tips, click here.

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