Here are some checks
you can make in your home today to ensure electrical safety:
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.
Make sure cords are in good condition—not frayed or
cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords
should never be nailed or stapled to the wall, baseboard or
to another object. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs
or rest any furniture on them.
Check to see that cords are not overloaded. Additionally,
extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis;
they are not intended as permanent household wiring. Make
sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent
young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.
Make sure your plugs fit your outlets. Never remove the ground
pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong fit a two-conductor
outlet; this could lead to an electrical shock. NEVER FORCE
A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN'T FIT. Plugs should fit
securely into outlets. Avoid overloading outlets with too
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
GFCIs can help prevent electrocution. They should be used
in any area where water and electricity may come into contact.
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. Test GFCIs according to the manufacturer's instructions
monthly and after major electrical storms to make sure they
are working properly.
Check the wattage of all bulbs in light fixtures to make
sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture.
Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended; if
you don't know the correct wattage, check with the manufacturer
of the fixture. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose
bulbs may overheat.
Circuit breakers and fuses should be the correct size current
rating for their circuit. If you do not know the correct size,
have an electrician identify and label the size to be used.
Always replace a fuse with the same size fuse.
Water and Electricity Don't Mix
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 board and then
unplug the appliance. If you have an appliance that has gotten
wet, don't use it until it has been checked by a qualified
If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit
breaker or if it has given you a shock, unplug it and have
it repaired or replaced.
Check to see that the equipment is in good condition and
working properly. Look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs
and connectors. Use a surge protector bearing the seal of
a nationally recognized certification agency.
Electric-powered mowers and other tools should not be used
in the rain, on wet grass or in wet conditions. Inspect power
tools and electric lawn mowers before each use for frayed
power cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housings.
If damaged, stop using it immediately. Repair it or replace
it. Always use an extension cord marked for outdoor use and
rated for the power needs of your tools. Remember to unplug
all portable power tools when not in use. When using ladders,
watch out for overhead wires and power lines.
During an electrical storm, do not use appliances (i.e.,
hairdryers, toasters and radios) or telephones (except in
an emergency); do not take a bath or shower; keep batteries
on hand for flashlights and radios in case of a power outage;
and use surge protectors on electronic devices, appliances,
phones, fax machines and modems.
Space heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Keep
space heaters at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials
such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture and rugs.
Don't use in rooms where children are unsupervised and remember
to turn off and unplug when not in use. Do not use space heaters
with extension cords; plug directly into an outlet on a relatively
Halogen Floor Lamps
Halogen floor lamps operate at much higher temperatures than
a standard incandescent light bulb. Never place a halogen
floor lamp where it could come in contact with draperies,
clothing or other combustible materials. Be sure to turn the
lamp off whenever you leave the room for an extended period
of time and never use torchiere lamps in children's bedrooms
or playrooms. Consider using cooler fluorescent floor lamps.
Back to top