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Electrical Safety at Home

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BY Samuetta Drew

Electrical Home Safety is a topic we will review this week.

The Consumer Safety Product Commission (CSPC) has declared February as National Electrical Safety Month “to bring awareness to the dangers of electrical accidents in the home and to encourage homeowners to take greater precautions in this area”. It has been reported that U.S. fire departments have responded to approximately 47, 820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failures or malfunction between 2007 and 2011 resulting in 1,518 injuries, 47,820 deaths and $1.5 billion in property damages.

Yes, electricity has been a marvelous invention. It has positively impacted are lives in ways we now take for granted. It is has made our lives much easier and convenient but, we must be aware of its potential dangers when not used properly. Unfortunately, we all can recall a story about a young child being shocked by putting a metal object in an electrical outlet or someone who plugged in a lamp with faulty wiring only to receive an electrical jolt. Therefore, there are some safe guards we need to practice in our homes daily.

Let’s begin with the importance of a) replacing or repairing damaged or loose electrical cords, and b) not running extension cords across doorways or underneath carpet. You should consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a licensed electrician to prevent from having to use extension cords.

It is important that you not overload your outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into a receptacle outlet. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction when plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet. Cover all exposed receptacle outlets with tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles if you have infants, very young children or low performance special needs individuals in your home. Avoid allowing young children from plugging and unplugging small appliances. 

Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in your kitchen, bathroom(s), laundry, basement or outdoor areas. Installation of these circuit breakers allows harmful current flowing from an outlet to be detected and stopped before an injury can occur.

If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a licensed electrician. This could be an indicator of a serious problem.

Other common precautions are placing all lamps on a level surface. Only use the manufacturer’s recommended bulb wattage in your lamps as well as in your ceiling lights and outdoor lights. Avoid using hair dryers near your bathtub or sink.

Even though electricity is one of man’s greatest inventions, it is important for us to Keep an Eye on Safety as we use it and its buy products responsibly.