A PHI Company

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Safety Center

Indoor Electrical Safety

In our daily life, electricity provides comfort and convenience. It makes modern living possible. If electricity is used incorrectly, however, it can be harmful, even fatal. Remember to read the warning labels on appliances, and to use caution when working with electrical devices.

Appliances

  • Keep electrical appliances away from wet areas and bathtubs, sinks and hottubs.
  • Never use any electric appliance on a wet surface, while wet or standing in water. Make sure your hands are dry when using an appliance.
  • Unplug appliances if they are not in use and before cleaning or repairing.
  • Use electrical appliances with the Underwriters' Laboratories (UL) symbol.
  • Don't remove the grounding prong of a three-pronged plug; use an appropriate adapter for a two-prong outlet if necessary.
  • Never hang clothes or place furniture near an electric heater or
    hot plate.
  • Keep electric heaters at least four feet from furniture and drapes.
  • Keep electric heaters on a level non-flammable surface.
  • Never go to sleep with a heating pad or space heater turned on.
  • Never place appliance cords where they will come into contact with the stove or other heated surfaces.
  • Unplug an appliance that has fallen into water before attempting to retrieve it.
  • Turn off a light before replacing the bulb.
  • Never pull out an electrical plug by the cord.
  • If your smoke detector runs on electricity, have a battery backup in case of a power failure.
  • Don't touch an electrical appliance with a metal object.

Wires/Fuses/Outlets

  • Put childproof covers on all outlets that children or pets can reach.
  • Do not stick any object other than an electrical plug into an outlet
  • Do not overload outlets with too many appliances; make use of other outlets in the room.
  • Keep electrical cords away from sharp obkects, out of traffic areas and out from under rugs and heavy furniture.
  • Check electrical cords and extension cords for wear and tear and replace any that are cut or frayed. Use extension cords that are rated for the type of work you will be doing. (You can rub cords with bar soap to prevent pets from chewing on them.)
  • Use extension cords minimally. Use use a long extension cord instead of several shorter lengths.
  • When outside, use only extension cords that are approved for outdoor use.
  • When replacing circuit breakers and fuses, use the correct size device.
  • Protect outdoor outlets with protective, weatherproof covers.
  • Any outlets located outdoors, or in moisture-containing areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, basement or garage, should have ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to lessen the possibility of shock or circuit overload. Test GFCIs on a regular basis.
  • Keep outdoor wiring on a separate circuit.
  • Know the location of the main electrical switch in the home.
  • Never force a plug into an outlet.

Be Prepared for Power Outages

  • Keep several flashlights around the house.
  • Always have extra batteries, make sure they are fresh. Candles and matches must be used with extreme care and should never be left unattended.
  • Own a battery-powered radio to hear news bulletins.
  • Keep bottled water on hand.
  • Keep canned and other non-perishable foods available.
  • Own a manual can opener.

Home and Business Electrical System Safety

Protect yourself by having your home or business electrical system inspected by a qualified electrician or licensed electrical inspector every few years. Also, if you notice one or more of the symptoms listed below, you should immediately have your electrical system inspected.

Warning Signs

  • Power Interruptions: Fuses frequently need replacement, or circuit breakers frequently need to be reset.
  • Overrated Panel: Your electrical panel/circuit breaker box contains fuses or circuit breakers rated at higher currents than the capacity of their branch circuits.
  • Dim or Flickering Lights: Lights dim or flicker; the size of your television picture often shrinks.
  • Unusual Sounds or Smells: You hear sizzling or buzzing noises, or smell burning from the electrical system.
  • Overheating: Parts of your electrical system, such as switch plates, wall outlet covers, cords and plugs may be warm or hot, or you notice that they are discolored from heat.