Fire Stopper

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Do you know the top causes of fire in historic buildings? Order Fire Safety and Historic Buildings, a new Preservation Book ($10) at or call 202-588-6296.

Credit: NTHP

There's nothing sexy about an arc fault circuit interrupter—but it may save your prized home from going up in flames. Faulty wiring or damaged appliance cords can lead to "arcing," a major cause of house fires. Traditional circuit breakers sometimes don't detect arcing, but arc fault circuit interrupters do. They stop the flow of electricity in a fraction of a second, before a fire can start. Make sure your house has one.

You'll find more valuable tips in the booklet "Fire Safety in Historic Buildings," available at