U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage (NFPA). It is extremely important to be cautious about electricity in order to preserve the safety and value of property and, most importantly, prevent injury and possible death.
The most important electrical safety tip is to treat electricity with caution and respect! Even low-voltage electricity can be hazardous if improperly handled. Faulty electrical work and improper electrical contact can result in property loss, injury, serious burns or even death. Learn how to protect yourself from electrical shock at work and at home with these safety tips.
Using a few basic safety measures will protect yourself from electrical shock at work and at home:
- Know the location of your electrical service panel (also called circuit breaker panel or fuse box).
- If the power goes out, check the service panel to see if the problem is within the house. Know how to determine if a circuit breaker has tripped, and how to reset a tripped circuit breaker.
- Water and electricity don’t mix! Never use electrical equipment near a pool or other wet areas. If an electrical device falls into water, unplug it immediately; DO NOT REACH INTO THE WATER while the device is plugged in.
- Avoid using electrical devices or touching circuit breakers if you are wet or standing in a wet area.
- Use bulbs of the appropriate wattage in fixtures and lamps. Using a higher wattage bulb may lead to fire.
- Protect against electrical shock by installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets in all outdoor outlets and wet areas (kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms. Tamper Resistant Outlets (TRO) should be installed in all other locations to prevent insertion of a foreign object.
- Be alert for the following coming from electronic devices as these are signs of trouble: smell of burning rubber or plastic, humming or sizzling sounds. Unplug device immediately.
- If used incorrectly, generators pose a significant hazard to both the user as well as utility crews attempting to restore power. Never plug a generator into your home circuitry. Instead, plug electronic devices directly into the outlets of the generator. Be sure to use the generator in a well-ventilated area.
- In the event of a power outage, when power is restored turn electronic devices back on gradually; sudden heavy electricity demand can damage your home’s electrical system and extend the outage.
If you experience problems such as fuses or circuit breakers that keep tripping, lights dimming or flickering, electrical outlets that don’t work and GFCI outlets that won’t reset, contact a licensed electrician immediately! These could be signs of serious defects with your electrical service panel.
- Know the location of your electrical service panel (also called circuit breaker box or fusebox).
- Know how to determine if a circuit breaker has tripped and how to reset a tripped circuit breaker.
- If a reset circuit breaker trips again immediately, DO NOT attempt to reset it again; contact a licensed electrician.
- Use only the fuses or circuit breakers with the recommended amperage.
Electrical Cords & Outlets
Key to preventing property damage, personal injury and sometimes fatality from electrical fires is plugging into electrical sources safely. Using extension cords properly is critical to your safety. With continuous use over time, an extension cord can rapidly deteriorate, creating a potentially dangerous electric shock or fire hazard.
- Avoid using extension cords. If you must use one, make sure it is the right capacity for the devices plugged into it.
- Overloading an outlet can cause fire. If more than one electronic device is connected to an extension cord, add the individual amp ratings of the devices together; the sum should not exceed the amp rating of the extension cord.
- When outdoors, only use extension cords that are moisture-resistant and grounded (three-pronged).
- When unplugging an electrical cord pull on the plug, not the cord; pulling on the cord directly can damage the cord and create risk of shock or fire.
- Do not place cords where people will be walking, drape cords over metal objects or coil cords while they are in use.
- Never cut off or pull out the third prong on an electrical plug! The third prong ensures proper grounding of the electrical current.
The safe and efficient power for appliances in the home is important for your family’s welfare and may assist you to reduce electricity usage.
- An appliance which repeatedly blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker could indicate a defect that may cause a fire or electrical shock. Unplug the appliance immediately and have it repaired or replace.
- Only use appliances that have been safety tested by a certified testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use and when cleaning or repairing them.
- Immediately turn off and unplug any appliance that sparks.
- Never leave portable heating devices unattended while in use.
Additional safety tips are available on the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) website.
Whether you have an emergency requiring electrical repairs, a power outage, flickering lights, a circuit breaker trip, panel replacement, need to replace a ceiling fan, have light fixtures installed or you would like a quote on your next home improvement project, Nisat Electric is here for you. Our Master Electrician will inspect, diagnose, and fix the problem using a systematic approach that facilitates logical analysis of the circuits involved in order to determine exactly what is causing the problem.
Most importantly, don’t put your property and personal safety at risk! Only hire a professional licensed, insured electrician to complete any electrical work on your home. Please, take a few minutes to check out our reviews and licensure in the State of Texas and you will understand why thousands of customers entrust their electrical installation and repairs to Nisat Electric!
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