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Last year, Finland recorded a total of 2,260 fires originating from electrical devices and installations, according to data from the rescue services' PRONTO database. This marks a decrease from the previous year's figure of over 2,400 incidents. Among these, stoves and ovens were identified as the starting point for 860 fires, down from more than 900 in the preceding year. Notably, these stove-related fires are rarely due to appliance faults, with human carelessness frequently identified as the cause. Tragically, these electrical fires resulted in 13 fatalities across eight separate incidents.

Electrical fires, defined as those ignited by energy directly from electrical sources such as stoves, heaters, refrigerators, lighting, or wiring, represent a significant risk. The PRONTO database, maintained by fire safety authorities, documents the source of ignition where known, with stoves and ovens being the most common culprits last year. Other notable sources included light fixtures (189 fires), electrical wiring and cables (112), saunas (98), microwaves (81), washing machines (61), and refrigeration units (48). Battery or charger malfunctions in small electronics were implicated in 65 cases.

The root causes of fires starting from electrical devices often relate to human actions, such as negligence, failure to follow operating and installation instructions, or neglect of maintenance. The ability of individuals to use electrical appliances safely, understand safety instructions, replace smoke detector batteries, seek help, or evacuate in an emergency also plays a crucial role in fire safety.

To prevent electrical fires, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) advises proper and supervised use of electrical appliances. For instance, monitoring stoves while cooking and ensuring presence at home when heaters or washing machines are in use. Tukes inspector Jukka Lepistö emphasizes avoiding storing items on stoves, focusing on cooking, not using saunas for storage or drying clothes, and supervising children in the kitchen as practical measures to avoid fires.

Stove fires remain the most common type, primarily caused by user negligence rather than appliance defects. The typical scenario involves forgetting the stove on or accidentally turning it on, leading to nearby materials igniting. Pets or children activating the stove or accidental activation by brushing against controls are also common hazards. However, stoves with enhanced safety features, requiring deliberate actions to activate, are available to mitigate these risks.

Sauna fires, recorded at 98 incidents last year, are often caused by drying clothes on the heater or placing foreign objects on it. Proper sauna use, maintenance according to manufacturer instructions, and caution with remote start features are essential for safety. Regular maintenance extends the life of sauna heaters, and vigilance with timer and thermostat functions is crucial. Saunas should not be used for storage or as drying rooms to prevent fire risks.

Effective smoke detectors save lives by providing early fire detection. Regular testing and battery replacement are essential for ensuring these devices function when needed.

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