What the experts say.

   In 2011, an estimated 47,700 home and 16,400 non-home fires involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction. These fires resulted in a combined 421 civilian deaths, 1,813 civilian injuries, and $1.9 billion in direct property damage.
(National Fire Protection Association)

   ... 16% of structure fires ... are electrical fires.
(Research on Electrical Fires: The State of the Art)

   Each day, nearly 7 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for electrical shock or burn injuries caused by tampering with a wall outlet.
(Electrical Safety Foundation International)

   An electrical system should not be taken for granted. It ages and wears out the same as other parts of your home. CPSC studies of residential electrical fires show that the majority of serious fires need not have occurred. The conditions that caused the fires probably would have been detected by an electrical inspection. If your last inspection was 10 or more years ago, inspection is advisable.
(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission - Guide to home wiring hazards)

   A simple safety device added to home electrical systems could save the average 310 people electrocuted each year.
(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

   Thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and accidents in their own homes each year.
(Electrical Safety Foundation International)

   The leading item most often first ignited in residential building electrical fires were electrical wire, cable insulation (30 percent).
(Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA))

   Residential building electrical fires resulted in greater dollar loss per fire than non-electrical fires.
(FEMA - Residential Building Electrical Fires (2009-2011)

Next: Electrical systems are just like cars.