You may not know it but there could be hundreds of electrical safety hazards lurking in your home. Follow these tips and guidelines to ensure your family is safe.
An electrical fire could destroy your home and harm your family. That's why it is imperative that you take preventive measures and know what to do in the event an electrical fire does occur.
To reduce the risk of an electrical fire
- Be sure your appliances and other electric items are functioning properly. Never plug in anything with a damaged cord.
- Be Aware! Frequent tripped breakers or blown fuses are a sign that you need to update your wiring. Never try to solve an overload by installing a higher-rated breaker or fuse. You'll only mask the problem and greatly increase your risk of starting a fire.
- In the event of an electric fire, unplug any electric appliance or tool that catches fire, or turn off the power at the breaker panel or fuse box.
- Never pour water on live wires or plugged-in appliances.
- Use a Class C fire extinguisher, or throw baking soda on the fire.
- If you can't control the fire, get out of your house immediately and call the fire department from your cell or a neighbor's phone.
Be on the safe side: use extension cords properly at all times and know these guidelines.
- Use extension cords only on a temporary basis.
- Always use an extension cord that can be grounded and has a duty rating appropriate for the job.
- Use extension cords that have a seal of approval from a major testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Never use a tool with a three-prong grounding plug on an extension cord that only accommodates two prongs.
- Use only extension cords approved for outdoor use when outdoors.
- Use one long cord instead of several shorter lengths. The longer the extension cord is, the larger the wire diameter needs to be - typically, thicker is safer.
- Protect your cords from heat, chemicals, oil, etc.
- Store extension cords in a dry place, coiled loosely.
- Never nail or staple an electrical cord in place or run cords under rugs.
- Inspect cords regularly for damage. Replace damaged, cracked or frayed cords immediately. Never patch a cord with tape.
Lights and decorations are an important part of any holiday season. Be sure your decorations are as safe as they are beautiful.
- Only use outdoor lights and cords in your yard or outside your home. Make sure they are properly sized for the intended use.
- When buying new lights or extension cords, be sure they carry the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or similar safety label.
- When decorating outdoors, keep ladders and decorations away from overhead power lines.
- Inspect your cords and lights. Replace any you find that have cracked or loose sockets, exposed wires and frayed, broken or scorched insulation. Even a tiny crack in a cord is a potential fire hazard.
- Keep paper and tinsel away from hot lights.
- Make sure your artificial tree is certified fire-resistant.
- Keep your natural tree well-watered; and keep cords and lights away from the tree's water dish.
- Unplug cords when you string lights. Unplug lights before you leave the house or go to bed.
- Stop using any cord that gets hot to the touch during use.
- Place electrical fixtures out of the reach of children and pets.