Electricity is something so commonplace, such a standard part of our daily lives, that we become complacent and take it for granted. We don’t think about the dangers of electrocution and electrical fire. Unfortunately, these are very real dangers that can injure, kill, and destroy property.
Electrocution deaths and injuries as well as electrical fires can for the most part be prevented by understanding how electricity works and implementing basic safety practices. Here are 10 ideas to keep you and your family safe:
Security Tip #1: Check Electrical Cords
Check electric cords often, especially extension cords. Look for discoloration, fraying, or any other signs that they are past their prime. Worn cords are a very real electrical shock or fire danger. For this reason, don’t run cords under rugs – damage can go unseen and unnoticed until it is too late!
Security Tip #2: Unplug
Always unplug appliances before making any repairs or cleaning. This includes getting that pop tart that went sideways unstuck from the toaster. Remember that even if an appliance is “off” if it is still plugged in, it is still connected to electricity, therefore a potential shock hazard.
Security Tip #3: Keep Away From Water
It’s no secret that water and electricity don’t mix. Never operate electric appliances like hair dryers and radios near water. This includes using portable devices while they’re charging, such as Kindles and iPhones. Also, don’t touch electrical equipment, including light switches and power cords, with wet or damp hands.
Security Tip #4: Unplug With Care
When you unplug an electric device, be sure to pull from the plastic housing to remove it from a wall socket. Never pull from the cord itself. This can stretch the wires and connections inside the cable, causing a short.
Security Tip #5: Don’t Overdo Extension Cords and Power Strips
Power strips a great for when you need to plug in a handful of things at once, but think twice before you load up too many things from one electrical outlet. Plugging in a power strip into another power strip— both fully loaded with devices/appliances— is a bad idea. This can be a fire hazard at worst and could potentially damage your home’s electrical system or the appliances themselves.
Security Tip #6: Keep Unused Outlets Covered
This is especially important if you have small children in the house; you’ll want to keep all of the electrical outlets covered. Small, unobtrusive, childproof plastic inserts can be purchased at any major store.
Security Tip #7: Check for Power Lines
Always be aware of power lines when doing work outside of your home. If your power lines run overhead, make sure the line isn’t crossing through any trees before you begin a pruning project (or allow kids to climb.) If your power lines are buried, always call before you dig when making major landscaping changes.
Security Tip #8: Light Up the Night - Safely
Light bulbs are the most prolific electrical device in our homes, making sure they are used correctly is important. Make sure you are using the correct wattage bulb for the fixture. Using too high of a wattage bulb can cause the fixture to overheat, creating a fire hazard. Make sure when replacing bulbs that you screw them in correctly and fully. A loose or incorrectly installed bulb can cause sparks or a short.
Security Tip #9: Keep Them Covered
Make sure all light switch plates and outlet faceplates are fully screwed in and in place. Never leave a faceplate off, allowing wires to be exposed.
Security Tip #10: Always Hire a Certified Pro
When you need electrical work done, even if it seems like a simple job, your best protection against electrocution and electrical fires is hiring a licensed electrician, like Southwest Florida Electric for any of your electrical needs.