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Indoor Electrical Safety

There are many potential dangers related to electricity in your home. Here are a few tips to help you avoid accidents and spot potential problems.

Use power cords with caution.

  • Replace cords that are damaged or frayed.
  • Never put your finger – or anything other than an electrical plug – in an outlet. Don't touch the metal part of the plug when plugging something into an outlet.
  • Never place cords under carpet or rugs.
  • Extension cords are only for temporary use. Prolonged use of extension cords can cause overheating and fire.
  • Never pull a cord; always pull the plug.

Be careful with electricity around 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 turn on an appliance that is sitting on a damp counter.
  • Don’t touch a switch if your hands are wet.
  • If appliances are used near a sink, turn them off after each use.
  • Don’t set a radio or telephone on the edge of a bathtub or sink.
  • Don’t use a hair dryer when your hands are wet, or when you are standing on a damp floor, in a wet tub or in a shower.
  • Unless an appliance is labeled “immersible,” don’t put it in water to wash it.

Keep your home’s electrical system in good repair.

  • If you continually replace fuses, reset circuit breakers, hear unusual buzzing sounds, or see sparks or flickering lights, you may have a problem with the electrical wiring in your home. Contact a licensed electrical contractor to perform an inspection and make any necessary repairs.
  • Always use the correct ampere rated fuses or circuit breakers. Incorrect amperage can cause power outages or fires in your home. If you are unsure of which amperage fuse or breaker to use, contact a licensed electrician.

Practice safe electricity usage throughout your home.

  • Never overload outlets. Using multiple plug-in adapters or power strips could cause a fire.
  • If an electric appliance smells hot or buzzes, don’t touch it or try to unplug it. Turn off the electricity at the circuit breaker, and then unplug it.
  • Avoid the risk of fire by using the manufacturer’s suggested wattage for light bulbs in lamps, lighting fixtures and all other appliances.
  • Use extreme caution with halogen lamps. Place them away from curtains or other flammable materials.
  • Keep space heaters away from flammable materials like curtains, rugs or newspapers. Only use UL-listed space heaters, and always operate space heaters to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Consider installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) in your main electrical panel, or have GFCIs installed in areas of your home where shock is a greater potential — such as the kitchen and bathrooms, laundry rooms, porches and patios. These safety devices reduce the risk of electrocution.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when operating heating pads and electric blankets.
  • Use caution and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using electric appliances around children.
  • Ensure outlet safety with children by using outlet covers or plastic outlet caps.