Electrical fires and shocks aren’t as rare as you might think, but the good news is that most of them are completely preventable. By keeping a few basic ideas in mind, you can safeguard your home from electrical hazards and still enjoy helpful appliances and beautiful light fixtures!
Water : Most people know that water and electricity don’t mix, and yet many of us end up reaching for the hair dryer or electric razor after a shower when our hands are still wet. Do not touch electrical outlets or appliances with wet hands, and never reach into water to pull out an appliance that’s plugged in. Be very careful about outlets and electronics near water, including swimming pools. Any radios, TVs, phones, curling irons, hair dryers, radiators, lamps and cords should be kept away from sinks, bathtubs, and pools filled with water. Completely dry hands and feet before touching electronics.
Extension Cords: Although they can be very helpful, do not use extension cords for a long period of time. They are designed for temporary applications, so unplug and safely store them away between each use. Do not run extension cords through ceilings or walls, as it may cause them to overheat which can cause electrical fires. Improper use of extension cords causes 3,300 residential fires each year. If you constantly need a longer cord to plug in an appliance, you’re probably better off installing a new outlet.
Curious Children and Pets:If you look around your home or office, you’ll notice that most outlets are located near the ground; this makes them convenient for plugging in electronics, but it also places them at a height accessible to children and animals. This doesn’t mean you have to move all your outlets, but there are a few simple changes you can make to keep your home and loved ones safe. Place plastic covers over outlets to prevent children from placing fingers or objects into the sockets. Plug-in covers are easy to find in any hardware store. Also make sure to keep loose cords away from pets, which may chew on them. You don’t need to cover them (this can actually lead to overheating) but securing cords or taping them down can prevent pets from playing with them.
Damaged Wires and Cords:Never use cords that are corroded, melted, frayed or have turned black. If a cords outer sheathing is torn or is exposing the wires within, you run a risk of shock, burn or electrical fire. To prevent cord tears, always unplug appliances and electronics by pulling on the plug itself, not the cord. Additionally, do not try to “fix” run-down cords by taping the tears; just replace them or have a licensed electrician look at them if you’re unsure. Dealing with faulty cords is a tricky process that is best handled by a qualified professional.
Broken Smoke Alarms:Your smoke alarms are one of the most important safety features in your home, but they’re useless if their batteries are dead. Ideally, alarms should be placed on each floor of every home. Check to make sure they’re working each month by pressing the “TEST” button located on the alarm. If your alarm is sounding off a single “beep” at periodic intervals (versus a constant beeping that indicates smoke detection), that means the batteries are failing and need to be changed immediately.
Does one of these issues
sound familiar to you?
Please note there are many, many more electrical hazards and these are some key issues. Does one of these issues sound familiar to you?
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