Electrical Safety Is everyone’s responsibility, and education and preparedness are its cornerstones. If you want your home to be prepared for safety, here are a few things you can do.
- Depending on who lives in your home, various levels of education are appropriate. If you have young children, it is critical that they are taught how to interact with the electrical system, and how to understand when something has gone wrong. Young children should understand that they are not to touch outlets, or plug/unplug appliances. When young, children often like to touch the metal parts of the plug, sometimes before the plug is completely removed. They should also understand that nothings should ever be inserted into an electrical outlet. If it conducts electricity, they could be in for a serous shock, but inserting things which do not conduct can be dangerous as well. Some things will be likely to combust or heat up if inserted, and can pose a serious fire risk. For older children, they should be aware of proper electrical safety. Teach them warning signs so that they can recognize if something has gone wrong. Fraying insulation on an electrical cord, flickering lights, or discoloration of an electrical outlets should all be reported and checked on. They should be taught that their hands need to be dry before using the electrical system, as shock can occur if the water flows into or around an electrical connection. Electrical cords should be pulled from the plug, not the cord, as this can put wear and tear on the cord. Eventually, that wear and tear could expose the insulated interior to the outside. Finally, educate yourself and the other adults in the home. Know when inspections have taken place, the state of the electrical system in various areas, and basic electrical maintenance and troubleshooting. If your breaker panel is not labeled accurately and with detail, take some time to figure out which things are on which circuits.
- Taking the initiative to prevent dangerous situations is always better than reacting to them once they have occurred. A great example of this is childproofing systems. This can mean everything from installing outlet covers to installing GFCIs. Some electrical accidents have occurred when a child has knocked over a faulty appliance such as a lamp, and exposed the electrical components inside. Make sure that there is no way for a child to expose themselves to the danger. Additionally, perform maintenance on the system regularly. Whenever there are problems, they should be addressed promptly and professionally. Failing to take electrical issues seriously can lead to huge damages and danger further down the line. Also, update your system to modern safety standards. Ensure that all outlets have three prongs, and that you use three prong cords. The third prong exists for a reason, and is a major component involved in making an appliance safer. Inspect your appliances, and when you notice signs of major wear, replace them. Defective and damaged appliances are one of the most common causes of electrical injury or electrical fire in the United States.
- Putting into practice good electrical safety procedures is the best way to ensure that you and your loved ones are not exposed to danger. There is a reason professionals use a lock out tag out system when working with dangerous machinery. If you are fiddling with an electrical appliance, make sure to unplug it first. This is particularly true when you are opening up or cleaning an electrical appliance. However, be aware that unplugging a device does not fully remove the risk of electric shock during maintenance. Some appliances have capacitators, which act like small reservoirs of electrical power, and can discharge rapidly and powerfully should an opportunity arise. Always consult the owners manual, and don’t be afraid to call a professional. Similarly, make sure that your electrical devices cannot fall into water, and that you use GFCI plugs whenever there is the slightest possibility of water becoming involved, such as in bathrooms, kitchens, or out of doors. One helpful tip here is to plug in your appliances to a GFCI plug which is further from the water source than the cord can reach. In this way, you have doubly insured yourself against failure. However, nothing is foolproof, and you should not rely on these shortcuts to keep yourself safe.
Electricity is a wonderful source of convenience, but it needs to be treated with respect. If you fail to respect the power which is hiding in your walls, you could inadvertently expose yourself and your loved ones to danger. If you have any questions or worries about your electrical system, call one of our experienced and qualified professionals, and they will be happy to assist you should an inspection or repairs need to be made.