Most of the time, electricity is handled safely inside the house.
Power runs through wires behind walls and is available only through outlets designed for safety. But we also need to observe safe practices when we plug in to use our home’s electrical network.
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Here are some ways to put safety first at home:
- Keep objects – especially children’s fingers – away from electrical connections and outlets. To protect small children, place covers on outlets. In the same way, move power cords out of reach.
- Position appliances away from combustible items, such as curtains. Unplug immediately and repair any appliance that shows signs of short circuit or has a loose cord. Always make sure appliances are off and unplugged before cleaning.
- Take care with extension cords. Do not lay them beneath rugs or heavy objects; do not place them in wet areas. Keep plugs intact. For example, do not remove the rounded ground pin on a 3-pronged cord to fit a 2-pronged outlet. Also, insert polarized plugs (one prong wider than the other) in the proper slots at outlets.
- Always grasp the head of a plug to connect or disconnect it at an outlet. Do not pull on the cord behind the plug.
- Never use small appliances, such as electric hair dryers, while in contact with metal or with water. Also, make sure hands are dry when turning electrical switches on or off.
- For best safety, have an electrician install GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) plugs in any area likely to be wet, such as the kitchen or bathrooms. They also are important for plus on exterior walls, which are exposed to the weather. GFCI receptacles are made to detect electrical hazards and disconnect power from the circuit before an injury occurs.
- Replace any used fuses and light bulbs with correct sizes to reduce overheating and potential for fires.
- Inspect switches, outlets and sockets around the house, the Web site Electricalsafety.org suggests. Do they work correctly? Are wall plates damaged or cracked? Do you hear a humming or buzzing sound at an outlet or switch? If you do, call an electrician and repair the problem immediately.
- Outdoors, make sure electrical wires are not touching metal pipes or gutters mounted on the home. If they do, call RPU or your local power company.
- Stay at least 10 feet away from power lines coming into your house. Also keep pools, trampolines and outdoor playhouses away from them.
- Be especially careful when carrying ladders or other long tools near overhead electric lines. Never operate power tools while standing in water