The nonprofit Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) promotes May as National Electrical Safety Month. It’s always a good idea to pay a little extra attention to something that is of such vital importance. We all use electrical devices and appliances, every day, without really thinking about it. Here is a general checklist of some things to look for or steps to take to keep your home and your family safe around electricity.
If you look around your home and see lots of extension cords, there’s a good chance you are overloading your circuits and creating a fire hazard. Consider having a licensed electrician install additional outlets in your home. If you are using extension cords even occasionally, make sure that they are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use if you are using them outside, and never use them to power a large appliance.
Since Ground Fault Current Interrupters became a requirement under the electrical code in the 1970s, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that about half of all home electrocutions have been prevented. GFCI outlets, which contain three prongs and have a small reset button in the center, are required on porches and decks, in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms, and any outlet within 6 feet of a sink or bathtub. If you own an older home and aren’t sure you have all of the required GFCI oulets, schedule an electrical inspection.
Electrical Shock Drowning
If your family spends time on a boat, outdated electrical systems near marinas and boat docks can create a shock hazard for anyone in the water. Even mild electricity in the water can paralyze a swimmer’s muscles and cause them to drown. Make sure the facility where you are boating has GFCI outlets and an inspected electrical system.
Protecting toddlers and young children from electrical shock requires vigilance, of course. But as most parents know, turning away from your child for only a second or two can result in them getting hurt. The EFSI estimates that each year, 2,400 children suffer shock and burns from sticking small items into an electrical outlet. Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRR), outlets with a built-in, spring loaded cover plate, are now required bin new construction as an effective method of preventing electrical shock. Hiring an electrician to replace your older home’s existing outlets with Tamper Resistant Receptacles can bring you some peace of mind if you have babies or small children.
Contact us if you have any concerns or questions about your home’s electrical system. We are happy to help!