Electricity – you can’t go throughout the day without using it. It makes your coffee in the morning, keeps your cell phone charged and lights up the room when you get home. With the ever-constant presence of electricity in our lives, it’s easy to forget the risks associated with its use. Check out the tips below to make sure your home electric safety knowledge is up-to-date.

Cords, Plugs and Lighting

  • Regularly check cords for signs of wear, such as fraying or stripped casing. Immediately replace damaged cords.
  • Check cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they could get damaged.
  • Make sure that all receptacle outlets and switches have faceplates.
  • Turn off devices before you unplug them, and unplug the electric cord at the plug, not by the pulling the cord.
  • Make sure plugs fit securely in the socket; a loose socket can increase your risk of an electrical fire.
  • Only use extension cords temporarily. Long-term use increases the risk of sparks, power fluctuation  and overheated wires.
  • Never overload outlets, extension cords, power strips or power strip surge protectors.
  • Keep lamps away from anything flammable; use lamp shades or globes for added protection.
  • Loose lightbulbs may overheat, so make sure they are screwed securely into the lamp socket.

Appliances

  • Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) outlets in areas with moisture, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, garage, laundry room and exterior outlets.
  • Never insert a metal object into a toaster or other appliances.
  • Regularly clean out places where dust accumulates, like your oven hood and dryer lint trap.
  • Before you clean or repair an appliance, make sure it is unplugged.
  • Heat-producing appliances, such as toasters, coffee makers, irons or microwave ovens draw a lot of electricity. Plug only one heat-producing appliance in each outlet to prevent wiring from overheating.
  • Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet, not an extension cord or plug strip.

Tools and Equipment

  • Store electrical tools indoors in a dry location.
  • Keep electrical tools away from children.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on use and care of electrical equipment.
  • Keep the area around your electric meter and other electrical equipment clear.
  • Keep ladders at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • Never touch anyone or anything that comes in contact with a downed wire. Report all downed lines to authorities right away.