Here are 10 quick checks to help make your home or work area more electrically safe:
1. Outlets - Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs which can overheat and lead to fires. Replace any broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
|2. Cords - Make sure cords are in good condition - not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall or baseboard or to another object and they should not have any furniture resting on them.|
|3. Extension Cords - Check to see that the cords are not overused. Additionally, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not safe as permanent household wiring.|
|4. Plugs - Make sure the proper type of plug is in each outlet. If you are using three-prong plugs in a room with two-conductor outlets, do not cut off the ground pin (the third/bottom prong) from the plug; this could lead to an electrical shock hazard. A better solution is to use a two-prong adapter. NEVER FORCE A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN'T FIT. This could lead to fire or shock. The plug should fit securely into outlets and outlets should not be overloaded.|
|5. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) - GFCIs can prevent many electrocutions. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. Test GFCIs regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions to make sure they are working properly.|
|6. Light Bulbs - Check the wattage of all bulbs in lighting fixtures to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.|
|7. Circuit Breakers/Fuses - Circuit breakers and fuses should be correct size for the circuits. If you do not know the correct size fuse, have an electrician identify and label the sizes. Never replace a fuse with anything but another correct size fuse.|
|8. Water & Electricity Don't Mix - Don't place any electrical appliances near water, i.e., a sink or a bathtub. Appliances that are used near water should be unplugged when not in use. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, unplug it, and don't use it until it's been checked by a qualified repair person.|
|9. Appliances - If one application repeatedly blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker or if it has emitted an electric shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.|
|10. Entertainment/Computer Equipment - Check to see that the equipment is in good condition and working properly; look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs and connections.|
Good outdoor lighting is not only a deterrent to crime but a deterrent to accidents as well. Adults and children are often victims of falls as a result of playing or moving around in dark areas.
Always provide sufficient lighting at all doors, windows and other openings to your house. Deny the cover of darkness to an intruder.
Light the front of your property. This makes a statement to individuals who might be considering breaking in. You might also encourage your neighbors to do so as well. A well-lit neighborhood is a deterrent to crime.
AHEC can assist you with your security lighting needs by providing a dusk to dawn lights for you for a small monthly fee.
|Respect Power Lines|
Power lines carry electricity. Energy from power lines can burn, injure or even kill. Tree climbing can be fun, but there may be hidden power lines between the limbs that if touched, could turn enjoyment into tragedy.
Farm grain augers and many other types of farming equipment, are of such height and length, that they can become an excellent path to the ground. Be aware of power lines at all times when working with farm equipment.
Metal, metal-reinforced or wet ladders that you might use around your home or other buildings are conductors of electricity. Use extreme caution when using any type of ladders around electrical wires, service drops and equipment. And remember, antennas can easily fall or be blown against nearby power lines. Before you erect or repair a radio or television antenna, consult AHEC for advice or assistance.
|Downed Power Lines|
NEVER touch a downed power line or anything that the power line touches. Although it may look harmless and innocent, the line could still be energized and deadly.
NEVER try to move downed power lines. Objects such as brooms, boards, limbs or other non-metallic materials can still conduct electricity. Leave these situations for the emergency professionals.
NEVER drive over downed power lines. If a power line touches your car as a result of an accident, do NOT get out. If it is necessary to leave, jump out without touching the car and the ground at the same time trying to land on both feet at the same time. Then shuffle away rather than taking large steps to minimize the chance of electricity following through the ground and then through your body. Fight the urge to run, and warn others not to run. This is because when a live wire touches the ground, electricity travels through the ground in all directions. Voltage decreases as it travels from the center where the live wire is touching the ground. If you run or take large steps, you could conduct electricity from one leg at one voltage to another leg at another voltage. This can shock or kill you.