Ways to Be Safe Around Electricity: Electrical Safety Rules to Remember
We love electricity – it keeps us warm, makes our homes bright, allows us to access all of our entertainment, enables us to eat a warm meal whenever we want and so much more. Electricity has made our lives more enjoyable in so many ways– but that doesn’t mean it comes without its risks–we’ll walk you through some electrical safety tips that all homeowners should be aware of.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires in 2007-2011– all started by electrical malfunctions. The Electrical Safety Foundation International found that each day, seven children must be treated for injuries caused by electrical shock.
Gain some knowledge on basic electrical safety tips– these five tips will help you enjoy the devices and appliances you love while keeping everyone safe from harm.
Replace or repair damaged power cords
Exposed wiring is a danger that cannot go overlooked, the NFPA wrote. If you see the protective coating on a wire is stripped away, be sure to replace it or cover it with electrical tape as soon as possible.
Don’t overload your outlets
Every outlet in your home is designed to deliver a certain amount of electricity; by plugging too many devices into it at once, you could cause a small explosion or a fire. If you have a lot of things to plug in, use a power strip (an energy saving one of course!) that can safely accommodate your needs.
Check that you’re using the correct wattage in all your fixtures and appliances.
Using the right bulbs can prevent electrical problems, so check all lamps, fixtures and appliances to ensure you’re using the correct wattage. If a light fixture has no wattage listed, use 60-watt bulbs or less. For unmarked ceiling fixtures, choose 25-watt bulbs.
Keep your used and unused cords tidy and secure to prevent damage.
Electrical safety rules don’t just apply to power cords when they’re in use—cords also need to be stored safely to prevent damage. Keep stored cords away from children and pets (who may chew on or play with the cords). Try to avoid wrapping cords tightly around objects; this can stretch the cord or cause overheating. Never rest a cord on a hot surface in order to prevent damage to the cord’s insulation and wires.
Unplug all your unused appliances to reduce potential risks.
One of the simplest electrical safety tips is also one of the easiest to forget: when an appliance is not in use, unplug it. Not only does this save you power by reducing any phantom drain (the amount of energy the device consumes even when not actively in use), but unplugging unused appliances also protects them from overheating or power surges.
Always be aware.
Never use metallic pencils or rulers, or wear rings or metal watchbands when working with electrical equipment. This rule is very easy to forget, especially when you are showing some electrical part pointing with metallic pencil.
Remember: gloves, clothes and shoes.
When it is necessary to handle equipment that is plugged in, be sure hands are dry and, when possible, wear nonconductive gloves, protective clothes and shoes with insulated soles.
Like in previous rules – Always disconnect the power FIRST.
If an individual comes in contact with a live electrical conductor, do not touch the equipment, cord or person. Disconnect the power source from the circuit breaker or pull out the plug using a leather belt.
Tricky situation, and you must be very calm in order not to make the situation even worse.
Never try repairing energized equipment.
Always check that it is de-energized first by using a tester. When an electric tester touches a live or hot wire, the bulb inside the tester lights up showing that an electrical current is flowing through the respective wire. Check all the wires, the outer metallic covering of the service panel and any other hanging wires with an electrical tester before proceeding with your work.
Never use an aluminium or steel ladder
If you are working on any receptacle at height in your home. An electrical surge will ground you and the whole electric current will pass through your body. Use a bamboo, wooden or a fibreglass ladder instead.
Always check all your GFCI’s once a month.
A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is a RCD (Residual Current Device). They have become very common in modern homes, especially damp areas like the bathroom and kitchen, as they help avoid electrical shock hazards. It is designed to disconnect quickly enough to avoid any injury caused by over current or short circuit faults.
Avoid mixing liquids and electricity.
They should be kept as far apart as possible. Touch your appliances with dry hands only. Avoid placing water or other liquids on top of electrical appliances. Many of us use the TV top or microwave as a counter but that’s actually very dangerous if liquids spill into open slots and cause a short circuit. And while using a steam kettle, do not fill it up while it’s still plugged on
Make sure that your children do not walk in wet into the house directly from the rain or your swimming pool. Your home is a place that is full of electrical sources and could pose a threat to their safety. Get them to dry out completely before entering the house.