Since the mid-1990s, May has been known as National Electrical Safety Month. Introduced by the Electrical Safety Foundation International, the goal is to bring awareness to the public about home electrical safety. According to the ESFI, electrical incidents cause 43,900 home fires and result in $1.47 billion in property damage each year.
While we rely on electricity to enhance our daily lives, it also comes with hidden dangers that need to be addressed inside and outside of the home.
In the Home:
Electrical cords are one of the biggest safety hazards. Never yank an electrical cold from a wall, especially when it’s in use (think lamp, toaster oven, vacuum cleaner). Always replace damaged or loose electrical cords, which is a fire hazard. Don’t attach damaged cords to extension cords, which shouldn’t be used as permanent outlets. By running an extension cord across doorways or under carpets, you run the risk of damaging the insulation and causing shocks.
Avoid overloading outlets, which can trip circuits and blow a fuse. Know where your circuit box is located and how to operate the switches. Sitting lamps should be placed on level surfaces away from things that can easily catch fire like drapes. The bulbs you use should match the owner’s manual recommended wattage.
For households with infants and toddlers, place safety caps on all unused outlets and make sure they know at an early age not to touch electrical outlets or appliances (especially with wet hands).
Outside the Home:
While many homeowners prefer DIY home-based projects, it’s best to consult with a licensed electrician for any electric projects. If you feel you can handle an outdoor project yourself, “Always Look Up,” to be alert to where power lines are located and know where they are hanging, whether while working on the roof, trimming trees, or painting the siding.
To avoid coming into contact with power lines, have a professional tree-cutting service trim branches that might fall on electric wiring. If using a ladder for your outdoor project, keep it at least 10 feet away from power lines. Never touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed wire. Power lines may be live, so report downed wires to authorities immediately and stay a safe distance away.
Did you know there’s a free service called “Before You Dig” (8-1-1) that can tell you where your underground utilities are located? This is a fantastic resource to utilize before conducting any digging on your property.
To prevent an electrical shock, make sure all your outside electrical receptacles are GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) protected.
Finally, you should educate your children about electrical dangers inside and outside of the home. Explain to them about power lines, staying away from outlets and electrical equipment and cords, and teach them the dangers of “green boxes” (substations and transformers) and not to play on them.
Accidents happen and sometimes homes are damaged or devastated by electrical-related disasters. After receiving First Notice of Loss from an insurance adjuster, ALE Solutions works quickly to find temporary housing for the policyholder. For more information, visit alesolutions.com.