Electricity is something that we depend on every day. We use it to light our homes, cook our food, and keep us warm. Since it is so commonly used, it's dangers often get forgotten. Many people are injured and even killed by electricity every year in the United States. Fire departments respond to over 50,000 fires per year that involve electrical failure or malfunction.
Let’s have a look at four common electrical issues that can get you in trouble:
- Check cords for frayed wiring or broken plugs.
- Don’t pinch cords against walls or furniture or run them under carpets or across doorways.
- Remember that cords are not to be bundled up when plugged in because they can overheat.
- Extension cords are for temporary use only.
- Don’t use electric appliances near water or while touching faucets or water pipes.
- Buy only appliances that bear the label of an independent testing lab (UL).
- Keep irons, space heaters, and all heat-producing appliances at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
- Unplug appliances when they’re not in use.
- Never repair broken wiring unless you are qualified to do so.
- Replace old outlets with modern ones that accept three-pronged polarized plugs (if your circuit has a ground wire).
- Install plastic safety covers in outlets to protect children.
- Never alter a plug to fit into an outlet.
Power Lines -
- Assume that all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages. Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated.
- Never touch a fallen overhead power line. Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines.
- Stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities. If working at heights or handling long objects, survey the area before starting work for the presence of overhead wires.
- If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. Call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services.
- Never operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water.
- Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.
- If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
- Always use caution when working near electricity.