WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – May is National Electrical Safety Month and 22News found out how you can keep your family safe.

While electricity makes our lives easier, it can be dangerous when used improperly.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical malfunction is the cause of more than 45,000 fires every year.

The West Springfield Fire Department told 22News proper use of extension cords will reduce the risk for electrical fires.

“Extension cords shouldn’t be ran under carpet or anything like, they can overheat,” Lieutenant CJ Bartone of the West Springfield Fire Department said. “Overloaded circuits or over loaded outlets, those are common fire hazards.”

Lt. Bartone urges you to unplug small appliances that aren’t being used, make sure big appliances are plugged directly into a wall outlet; no extension cord there, and use the correct wattage for light bulbs.

According to Amica Insurance, these are additional tips to help keep your home fire-safe:

  • Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician
  • Use one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, etc.) at a time when plugged into the same receptacle outlet
  • Unplug small appliances when not being used
  • Plug major appliances (such as dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, etc.) directly into a wall outlet
  • Check electrical cords on appliances often, and replace them if they are cracked or damaged
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they’re not running across doorways or carpets
  • Use extension cords for temporary purposes only
  • Use light bulbs with correct wattage in lamps and fixtures
  • Install tamper-resistant electrical outlets in homes with young children