Electrical Safety Tips at Home
Electrical Safety Tips Anyone Can Follow
Being safe when using electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs, and other equipment is easy, and safety tips should be included in household rules, homeschool fire safety and daily behavior expectations for all members of the family. It only takes one mistake to spark an electrical fire, but simple prevention measures can be effective solutions.
Appliances are an integral part of every household, from a simple electric clock to the microwave oven. These safety tips can help keep all appliances operating safely:
- According to Atlantic Training, it’s essential to ensure that any appliances you purchase are approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or another reputable consumer laboratory.
- Unplug unused appliances and stow cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.
- Appliances that generate heat, such as clocks, televisions and computer monitors, should be given several inches of clearance all around for good air circulation and cooling. Do not drape clothes, toys or other items over warm appliances.
- Always follow appliance instructions carefully and do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.
- Keep all electrical appliances away from water such as sinks, bathtubs, pools or overhead vents that may drip.
- Do not operate any electrical appliances with wet hands or while standing in water.
- Keep clothes, curtains, toys, and other potentially combustible materials away from radiators, space heaters, heating vents, and other heat sources.
Every electrical appliance has a cord, and many homes use extension cords to increase the range of electrical outlets. These safety tips can help keep cords in good condition for safe operation:
- Check cords regularly for frays, cracks or kinks, including power tool cords, holiday lights, and extension cords. The Canadian Center for Occupational Safety suggests doing this before each use.
- Cords are not jumped ropes, clotheslines or leashes, and should never be used for anything other than their intended purpose.
- Cords should be firmly plugged into outlets – if the cord is loose and can pull out easily, choose a different, more snug outlet.
- Do not staple or nail cords in position at any time; if the cord does not remain where desired, use tape or twist ties to secure it.
- Cords should not be placed beneath rugs where they can become a trip hazard or where frays will not be noticeable. Furthermore, covering a cord will prevent it from keeping as cool as possible.
- Do not make modifications to a cord’s plug at any time – do not clip off the third prong or attempt to file down a wider prong to fit in a different outlet.
- Extension cords are a temporary solution only, and their use should be minimized whenever possible.
- Use the proper weight and length of extension cord for the appropriate task, and be sure the cord is rated for indoor or outdoor use, whichever is required.
- When unplugging a cord, pull on the cord at the outlet rather than tug on the cord itself.
Every cord has to plug into an appropriate electrical outlet, but these tempting niches are inviting to unwelcome objects that can cause shorts and fires. Use these electrical safety tips at home to keep outlets safe:
Electrical Fire Safety Tips
When an electrical short or spark does happen, it is vital to understand what to do to prevent or put out an electrical fire to keep the damage and devastation from spreading. You should, of course, call 911 or other appropriate emergency services immediately in case of electrical injury or fire. According to The Hartford, there are many common causes of electrical fires and signs to be aware of. Here are a few tips to keep your family safer.
- Do not allow children to play in proximity to small or large electric appliances.
- Replace any tools that put off even mild electric shocks.
- Replace any light switches that have a tendency to flicker.
- Replace any light switches that are hot to the touch.
- Avoid overloading extension cords, sockets and plugs.
- Do not ever force a three-prong plug into a two-receptacle socket.
- Know where fuse boxes and circuit breakers are located as well as how to operate them properly.
- Never attempt electrical repairs or rewiring without proper certification and experience.
- Do not put water on an electrical fire; use a dry fire extinguisher or baking soda instead.
Staying Safe at Home
Even though electricity is commonplace, there is still quite a bit of danger associated with improper use. Carefully observe all safety measures when using electricity to keep yourself – and your family – safe.