Electrical accidents can range from mildly annoying to downright devastating. On one hand, an electrical accident can leave you with a temporary power outage, a small buzz on your hand or something similarly inconsequential. On the other hand, many electrical accidents result in electrical shocks, overheating and electrical fires that can lead to damage to your property, injury to you and even death. Because of this, it is important to do anything that you can to avoid electrical accidents of any type. With good wiring, a little common sense and a few precautions, most electrical safety hazards can be avoided.
Many people regard electrical safety as not plugging too many devices into one cheap power strip or using a hair dryer while in the bath tub. Although these are two very important safety precautions, there are also many other areas in your home that can present potential electrical safety hazards. By educating yourself about some of these hazards, you can start to understand the overwhelming power and danger of electricity in order to use it more safely.
Cords and Plugs
Electrical cords and plugs are to blame for the majority of civilian deaths related to electrical accidents each year. These dangers, however, are some of the easiest to avoid. Most importantly, you should never use a cord that appears damaged in any way, such as burning or melting. If there is any missing or damaged insulation, or there is a loose cord, the whole cord should be replaced rather than repaired with electrical tape.
Extension cords are some of the most dangerous when it comes to cords. You should never use an extension cord to provide power to any area permanently. You should never conceal extension cords, especially under carpets. Always make sure to use the right cord for your purpose, meaning that you should only use grounded cords for items that need grounding. Take special note of the rating of each cord and make sure that it is heavy enough for your purpose.
Appliances and Fixtures
Misusing lamps and light fixtures is another top cause of electrical accidents. Although it may seem like a harmless thing to do, placing a 100-watt bulb in a 60-watt light fixture can melt the fixture wires, possibly leading to electrical shock or fire. This can also occur if you plug something into an adapter outlet that turns a light socket into an electrical outlet.
When it comes to appliances, do not ever use a device that buzzes, has a burning smell, smokes or sparks. Never operate any electrical devices while standing in water.
Your home's fixed wiring is the second-leading cause of electrical-related home fires. This is a result of problems such as overloaded circuits, improperly installed circuit breakers, damaged wires, loose connections and more. Because your wiring is probably beyond your capabilities and hidden behind your walls, your best route to safety in this area is to have your home regularly inspected by an electrician. They can look for and identify many common electrical hazards and offer professional advice for remedying them.
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