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Being Safe at Home

Electrical Hazards – don’t say it won’t happen

American homes are filled with electrical appliances and tools that enhance our lives with convenience, comfort, and entertainment. But the power that drives these important devices can be a source of pain and tragedy if it is misused.

These guidelines will help you spot electrical problems that may be present in your home and take appropriate action to correct or remove dangers.

  • Use the right light bulbs in all lamps and light fixtures.
  • Look inside the light fixture. Find a label that tells you which light bulb size (wattage) is right for the fixture.
  • The electrical outlet in the bathroom should have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI.) This is a tool that protects you from a dangerous shock when water and electricity come together. An electrician can install one for you.
  • All electrical cords should be in good condition.
  • Don’t tie or knot cords. Don’t let furniture sit on cords. Either can cause dangerous “shorts” in your wiring.
  • Look for the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark on the label when you buy electrical appliances (such as toasters, microwaves or coffee makers) and cords.
  • Unplug toaster ovens, coffee makers and other small appliances after using them.
  • Keep appliances dry and away from water at all times.
  • Don’t plug in too many appliances at once — you could trip a breaker.
  • Call an electrician if your lights flicker, or if your power goes out a lot.
  • Don’t “snake” extension cords to make up for a deficit of electrical outlets. Call an electrician to install more outlets.

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