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Home Safety

Electricity has become an essential part of our every day lives. Take a moment to think about all the things that electricity provides and how different our lives would be without electricity. While electricity is a great invention, it has the potential to cause great harm. The following are some things that you can do to be safe around electricity.

Circuit Breakers or Fuses:

Electricity enters the home through a control panel and a main switch where one can shut off all the power in an emergency. Control panels use either fuses or circuit breakers to protect the wiring. Circuit Breakers and fuses should be the correct size, current rating for their circuit. If a fuse is blown, be sure to check why the fuse or circuit blew. Possible causes are frayed wires, overloaded outlets or defective appliances. You should always replace a blown fuse with the same size fuse. Under no circumstances should you oversize the fuse to keep the circuit on. This can overload the wiring and possibly lead to a fire hazard.

Outlets and Extension Cords:

Make sure all electrical outlets are three-hole, grounded outlets. Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire. Replace any missing or broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children. If an outlet is located near a source of water, it should be a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet. When a GFCI senses current leakage in an electrical circuit, it assumes a ground fault has occurred. It then interrupts power fast enough to help prevent serious injury from electrical shock. All outdoor outlets should be GFCIs. NEVER FORCE A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN'T FIT.

Minimize extension cord use. They are not intended as permanent household wiring. Use the proper electrical cord for the job, and put safety plugs in unused outlets. Be sure to inspect extension cords periodically. Check all cords for frayed wires or cracks in the insulation. Make sure cords are placed out of traffic areas where they may present a tripping hazard. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs or rest any furniture on them.

Electrical Appliances:

All appliances need to be treated with respect and care. Check appliances periodically to spot worn or cracked insulation, loose terminals, corroded wires and any other components that might not work correctly. If you find a problem with an appliance, either replace the appliance or have it repaired by a qualified repairman.

If any appliance or device trips a circuit breaker, blows a fuse or gives off a tingling shock, turn it off, unplug it and have a qualified person correct the problem. Shocks can be fatal.

Portable Electrical Heating Equipment:

Portable electrical heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Keep space heaters at least three (3) feet away from any combustible materials and make sure they cannot be tipped over. Don't use them in bathrooms because of the risk of contact with water and electrocution.

Water and Electricity Do Not Mix:

People are good conductors of electricity. In areas where water is present, use outlets with "ground fault circuit interrupters" or GFCIs. Do not use electrical appliances in damp areas or while standing on damp floors. Never touch an electric cord or appliance with wet hands. Don't leave plugged in appliances where they might fall in contact with water. If a plugged-in appliance falls into water, NEVER reach in to pull it out - even if it's turned off. First turn off the power source at the panel box and then unplug the appliance. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, don't use it until a qualified repairman has checked it.

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