Electrical safety is important and while we need electricity to live the way we do, it can be dangerous if it’s handled incorrectly and the statistics are scary.
• 350,000-400,000 fires in the home are caused by an electrical malfunction or mishandling
• Causing $7 billion in property damage
• And close to 13,000 injuries
• And the worst part, 2,650 deaths
How can you avoid electrical hazards to keep your family safe?
Examples of the Most Common Electrical Hazards in the Home
1. Dangers of Water & Electricity– Areas where water and electricity come together need to be safe. These areas include kitchens, bathrooms, workshops or any areas that have a sink. These areas need to have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets. GCFI outlets are three-pronged with a reset button and will shut down the electricity to any outlet when water gets anywhere near it. NEVER let water and electricity come into contact with each other. If you are wet, you should never touch an electrical appliance. These can include a hair dryer, curling iron, tech gadgets, toasters, etc. Appliances should be kept away from sinks, tubs, showers, pools, etc.
2. Overusing extension cords– Our lives are extremely wired and it’s easy to just keep plugging things into an extension cord, but extension cords should only be used temporarily. They should never be run through walls or ceilings because they overheat and could cause a fire. If you find yourself reaching for an extension cord too often then you should have a new outlet installed for safety reasons.
3. Using electrical wires & cords that are damaged– Another issue with cords is when you use them when they are frayed, melted, corroded, cracked or damaged in any way. DO NOT use them if they are damaged. The best way to prevent damage to cords is to pull them out by grabbing the plastic plug instead of yanking it out by the cord. When cords get damaged, inner wires can cause shocks, burns and fires when they get plugged in. Don’t think that taping a damaged cord up with electrical tape is good enough either. Be safe and replace it!
4. Kids & electrical outlets-A bad thing about electrical outlets is that they’re located low to the ground, making them easy for kids to get at. Curious kids will want to stick anything they can get their hands on into them. Use plastic outlet covers to prevent this problem or consider having tamper-resistant outlets installed. These allow electrical devices to be plugged in but will prevent forks, toys and fingers from getting into them.
5. Dead batteries in the smoke detectors– A scary fact is that two of three people that die in a house fire did so in a home that did not have a working smoke detector. It’s imperative to test your smoke detector once a month. All you need to do is press the “Test” button and change the batteries every six months. Jot it down on your calendar to remind yourself or do it every time the time changes. An indication that the batteries are running low is the single beep you’ll hear every minute or so.
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DIY projects aren’t a good idea when it comes to electricity. Regardless of how small an electrical job in your home may seem, call the professionals at Peterkin Electric to handle the job correctly and safely.