Electrical Safety and You
May is Electrical Safety Month and there’s a reason professionals wanted to see a whole month dedicated to this important topic. When electricians learn their trade, many of the lessons are about keeping themselves safe and using best practices to keep homeowners safe once their work is complete.
The fact is, we rely on electricity in our daily lives but it can be dangerous too.
What You Need to Know About Electrical Safety
According to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), an estimated 35,000 home fires, over 1,130 injuries, 500 deaths, and $1.4 billion in property damage occurs each year as a result of electrical malfunctions. It’s important to keep everyone who lives in or visits your home safe from electrical hazards.
Resources like ESFI and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) offer great advice for simple electrical safety practices. Check out EEI’s “Spring Into Safety for National Electrical Safety Month” suggestions below:
- Check electric cords for fraying or cracking. Replace cords that may be damaged, and don’t overload electric outlets.
- Remember extension cords are intended to be temporary; they are not intended as permanent household wiring.
- Don’t run cords under carpets or rugs and don’t tack or nail cords to walls or floors.
- Keep electric appliances and tools away from water. Never reach for or unplug an appliance that has fallen into water; instead, turn the power off at the breaker before you unplug the appliance or remove it from the water.
- Never put anything other than an electrical plug in an outlet. Use outlet covers or caps to protect children.
- Keep your home’s electrical system in good repair. Contact a licensed electrical contractor if you have flickering lights, sparks, non-functioning outlets, or need wiring repairs or upgrades.
ESFI provides tools and activities for children about electrical safety on their website. Along with Private I. Plug, parents can help their kids spot (and avoid) everyday dangers in the home.
Following these suggestions, you and your family will find it’s easy to avoid electrically related fires, fatalities, injuries and damage. Whether you have questions about your current electrical system, need a home inspection, repairs or an upgrade, you can “Get it Done Right. Get it Done Safely” at Mister Sparky.
Your Pets and Electrical Safety
Electrical safety extends across the board, from humans to our pets. Part of being a responsible pet owner is knowing those potential hazards exist, where they are, and how to prevent them.
Some rules of thumb to make sure your pets remain shock-free:
- Make sure the plugs in your outlets are secure. An exposed prong can lead to a nasty zap.
- Some animals like to chew on power cables. Make sure your electrical cords are in good condition. Treat with bitter-tasting pet deterrents or invest in pet-proof cords. You can also wrap your cords in flexible cable or PVC.
- Don’t leave your electrical appliances unattended. Turn off and unplug any electronics before you leave the room.
- Keep pets away from exposed lamps, especially ones with halogen bulbs.
- Block your pets from the spaces behind your computer, TV equipment or any place where numerous electrical connections are present.
- Be aware of any outdoor underground electrical or cable lines, especially if Fido likes to dig.
- Don’t leave your pets out in an electrical storm. Bring them inside or move them to a safe place.
Keeping your pets safe from electrical dangers is easy – but it requires vigilance. Be sure to address any potential hazards before they result in a cat-astrophe!
Electrical Safety and Storms
Staying from electrical hazards is extra challenging when there are storms, such as hurricanes.
There are preventative measures you can take when there is enough warning about high winds and possible flooding so you protect devices and appliances. Then in the aftermath of a storm, it’s important to heed caution once power is restored and there is standing water.
Get a complete list of life-saving tips for electrical safety here.
Avoid Injury from Electricity with These Tips
As homeowners, we strive to make our living quarters safe for ourselves and our families. This includes employing sound electrical safety practices around the house. Many of our safety measures are commonsensical. Don’t use your hair dryer in the bathtub. Keep wires and cords away from water. Don’t plug too many devices into one power strip.
But did you know you could be doing more?
Websites like Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) continuously put out resources on electrical safety, some of which contain lifesaving tips and information.
Here are just a few tips from the USFA:
• Always plug major appliances, like refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers, directly into a wall outlet.
• Never use an extension cord with a major appliance — it can easily overheat and start a fire.
• Always plug small appliances directly into a wall outlet.
• Unplug small appliances when you are not using them.
• Keep lamps, light fixtures and light bulbs away from anything that can burn.
• Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture.
• Check electrical cords on appliances often. Replace cracked, damaged and loose electrical cords. Do not try to repair them.
• Do not overload wall outlets.
• Insert plugs fully into sockets.
• Never force a three-prong cord into a two-slot outlet.
• Install tamper-resistant electrical outlets if you have young children.
Extension Cords, Power Strips and Surge Protectors
• Replace worn, old or damaged extension cords right away.
• Use extension cords for temporary purposes only.
• Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched, like under a carpet or rug.
• Do not overload power strips.
• Use power strips that have internal overload protection.
For more information, outreach materials and educational programs, visit https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/.
If you are uncertain about the safety of an electrical project in the home or if there have been signs of electrical issues such as flickering lights or sparking outlets, contact Mister Sparky for an inspection.