I saw a home improvement show over the holidays where they were talking about Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFCI. I thought given how rapidly fire spreads in a wood house without drywall or other fire breaks between rooms, I thought this might be a good idea. They're pretty pricey, $40 each or more. Didn't find any discussion here so I thought I would start a discussion. Plan to ask my insurance agency about a discount since it would seem to reduce the risk of fire.
I looked into these a few years back. Like you, I thought they would be a great thing to have. Unfortunately, when I had my electrician check out my main electrical panel I found out I couldn't use them because of how the house was originally wired. Don't remember all the details, but I think it had to do with having shared commons (?) I'm no electrician so best to have your own check it out.
Has anyone else looked into this?
I had a new box and service upgrade in 2003 so perhaps I don't have that problem, but won't spend the money until more research is done. I think having separate commons would be required. Maybe I'll take the panel off and see. AFCIs are also really big.