Always keep electrical safety in mind and remember the following:
Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire. Replace any missing or broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
Make sure cords are in good condition - not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall, baseboard or to another object. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs or rest any furniture on them.
Check to see that cords are not overloaded. Additionally, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not intended as permanent household wiring. Make sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.
Make sure your plugs fit your outlets. Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong fit a two-conductor outlet; this could lead to an electrical shock. NEVER FORCE A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN'T FIT. Plugs should fit securely into outlets. Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) can help prevent electrocution. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. When a GFCI senses current leakage in an electrical circuit, it assumes a ground fault has occurred. It then interrupts power fast enough to help prevent serious injury from electrical shock. Test GFCIs according to the manufacturer's instructions monthly and after major electrical storms to make sure they are working properly.
Circuit breakers and fuses should be the correct size current rating for their circuit. If you do not know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the size to be used. Always replace a fuse with the same size fuse.
Block unused outlets with a solid cover plate or childproof cap. If you have small children in the home, this may be one of the most important safety tips to remember.
Switch to compact fluorescent (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. These provide the same level of light at lower wattage and heat levels, which is not only saferm, but also beter for the environment (and your wallet).
Check the wattage of all bulbs in light fixtures to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended; if you don't know the correct wattage, check with the manufacturer of the fixture. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.
Halogen floor lamps operate at much higher temperatures than a standard incandescent light bulb. Never place a halogen floor lamp where it could come in contact with draperies, clothing or other combustible materials. Be sure to turn the lamp off whenever you leave the room for an extended period of time and never use torchiere lamps in children's bedrooms or playrooms. Consider replacing halogen lamps with one that uses LED or CFL bulbs.
Allow for adequate air circulation around all electrical appliances and devices, especially those that generate heat while in use. Never cover an electrical appliance or device while in use.
Don't leave plugged-in appliances where they might fall in contact with water. If a plugged-in appliance falls into water, NEVER reach in to pull it out - even if it's turned off. First turn off the power source at the panel board and then unplug the appliance. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, don't use it until it has been checked by a qualified repair person.
If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker or if it has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.
Check to see that all appliances and other equipment are in good condition and working properly. Look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs and connectors. Use a surge protector bearing the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency.
Electric-powered mowers and other tools should not be used in the rain, on wet grass or in wet conditions. Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before each use for frayed power cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housings. If damaged, stop using it immediately. Repair it or replace it. Always use an extension cord marked for outdoor use and rated for the power needs of your tools. Remember to unplug all portable power tools when not in use. When using ladders, watch out for overhead wires and power lines.
During an electrical storm, do not use appliances (i.e., hairdryers, toasters and radios) or corded telephones (except in an emergency); do not take a bath or shower; keep batteries on hand for flashlights and radios in case of a power outage; and use surge protectors on electronic devices, appliances, phones, fax machines and modems.
Space heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Keep space heaters at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture and rugs. Don't use in rooms where children are unsupervised and remember to turn off and unplug when not in use. Do not use space heaters with extension cords; plug directly into an outlet on a relatively unburdened circuit.
Most adults will suffer a third degree burn if exposed to 150 degree water for only two seconds. Third degree burns will occur in six seconds at 140 degrees and in 30 seconds at 130 degrees. Approximately five minutes are required to cause a third degree burn at 120 degrees. According to the National Institute for Burn Medicine, more than half of all burn accidents involving infants and children can be prevented by lower water heater settings.
Go inside during thunderstorms. It is very dangerous to stay outside when there is lightning. If you get caught outside, squat low to the ground allowing only your shoes, which act like insulators, to touch the ground.
Steer clear of downed lines. If a storm damages any utility equipment, keep everyone away and give us a call immediately, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call 911.
If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. Call or ask someone to call us or 911.
Look up and look out for overhead power lines. If you'll be using a ladder, pole or other tall equipment, always check for overhead power lines. Stay at least ten feet away at all times. Never fly kites near overhead power lines.
Teach kids to stay away from substations. Most kids - and many adults - don't know you don't even have to touch anything inside a substation to get badly hurt. Also be sure to stay away from electrical transformer boxes and poles.
Call before you dig! With just one phone call to 811
, Digger's Hotline
will send utility workers to your home to mark the location of underground lines. It's free, but remember to call at least three days ahead.
Never throw water on an electrical fire. This may seem obvious to many readers, but in the heat of the moment, grabbing a bucket of water or a hose might seem tempting. Water conducts electricity, so throwing water on the fire could cause it to get larger, or worse, cause electrocution to you or others. Instead use a chemical fire extinguisher, or baking soda if no extinguisher is available.