General Prevention Tips

General Prevention Tips

Common household currents and voltages are capable of causing severe injury or death. It is important that electrical equipment be treated with respect and properly maintained to reduce the chance of physical harm or property damage. The following tips can help you recognize potential electrical hazards.

Service Entrance Lines
  • Use caution around above ground service entrance lines. Contact with entrance lines by objects such as ladders or a child’s kite could result in electrocutions.
  • Contact the utility company before digging around underground service entrances.
Fuse and Circuit Breaker Boxes
  • Enclose fuses and circuit breakers in a panel box. Interior wiring should never be visible. Always keep the panel door closed and latched.
  • Keep the area around the electrical panel free of combustible materials.
  • If you notice burn marks, hear buzzing or cracking, or smell burning plastic around or inside the electrical panel, have a qualified electrician check the panel immediately.
  • Keep on hand spare fuses of the proper size for the circuit they protect. Over fusing presents a severe fire hazard as circuits can overheat when they carry more current than that for which they were designed.
  • When screw-type fuses require replacement, S-type fuses should be used.
  • If fuses blow or circuit breakers trip frequently, it may be an indication that the circuits are overloaded. Have a qualified electrician inspect the circuit and make the appropriate repairs.
Electrical Cords
  • Extension cords are a temporary, not permanent, wiring solution.
  • Grasp the plug when removing cords from outlets. Pulling or jerking on the cord can damage the wires, presenting both an electric shock and fire hazard.
  • Avoid overheating by using extension cords of the proper size for the load they will carry and by using cords as short as practical.
  • Regularly check cords for damage and never repair by splicing.
  • Cords should not be placed under rugs or otherwise covered since this may result in overheating or fraying. Rolling or looping cords into a bundle may also cause overheating.
  • Avoid using "octopus plugs" which allow many cords to be plugged into a single receptacle.
Receptacles and Switches
  • Receptacle and switch covers need to be securely fastened. Exposed wiring presents a serious shock hazard.
  • Have a qualified electrician inspect any receptacle or switch that sparks, makes unusual noises, or smells like it is burning.
  • Protect outside receptacles with weatherproof covers and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
  • Replace receptacles that will not hold plugs firmly.
  • Where small children are present, install tamper resistant outlets or tamper-resistant outlet covers.
Electrical Appliances and Tools
  • Do not use light bulbs with a higher wattage rating than recommended on the fixture.
  • Keep appliances and their power cords away from any water or dampness.
  • Hire a qualified electrician to replace two prong outlets with three prong GFCI outlets if your appliances have three prong plugs. Never remove the grounding prong on an appliance cord.
  • Keep electric heaters clear of combustible material such as drapes, bedding, furniture, and papers.
  • Unplug any appliance or tool that gives even the slightest shock (i.e., tingling sensation) and have it checked by a qualified electrician or repair person.
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