Electricity is an important part of any home, but it can also be a significant hazard. While many electrical fires and injuries are due to appliances or electrical systems malfunctioning, a greater portion of problems are from misuse and poor maintenance or appliances, as well as overloaded circuits and extension cords and incorrect wiring.
Here are some of the top electrical safety hazards:
- Extension cords under carpet: This can pose a big problem if the cord is under the carpet, becomes damaged, and then overheats and catches fire. The damage can be caused from foot traffic, furniture, or general wear and tear, and it won’t be readily visible. This can be especially bad in home where the cord is forgotten about and deteriorates, so extension cords under carpet are a major electrical safety hazard.
- Electrical appliances: Any appliance you can plug in needs to be treated with care and common sense. Never leave paper or plastic close to a hot appliance or store appliances so they may tip over. Always unplug appliances when not in use and check periodically for corroded wires, cracked insulation, defective parts, and anything else that might not work properly. Also, remember to use caution with space heaters, electric blankets, and be sure to keep plugged in appliances away from water.
- Electrical outlets and cords: Electrical outlets can be especially unsafe for young children and safety plugs should be inserted in unused outlets, as well as electrical safety emphasized to children. Also, the use of electrical cords should be minimal and there should be enough electrical capacity in outlets. It is recommended that all electrical outlets are three-hole grounded outlets. If an outlet is located in the bathroom or outdoors, it should have a GFI or Ground Fault Interrupter outlet.
- Electrical wiring: All electrical wiring in your house should be up to wiring safety code. In addition, if you have had small rodents in your home or the walls, the wires will need to be checked to ensure they are not being damaged.
- Power Lines: Many people aren’t aware of overhead and underground power lines. Unfortunately, there have been electrocutions when people accidently put an object in the way of a power line, such as ladders, antennas, kites, and poles. Tress and bushes can also be a hazard, as well as animals who get caught in trees near power lines. Power lines are dangerous to touch, whether they are standing straight up or fallen down.
Keep electrical safety hazardous in check and be sure to also check out the article for Electrical Safety more information.