Electric Safety Tips

Madison Electric Company Offers Electricity Safety Tips
The following information was originally produced by PSEG and is being reproduced with their permission.

June: National Safety Month
We rely on electricity every day ─ to light our homes and streets, keep food cold and power up our air conditioners on a hot day. But electricity can be dangerous if not used properly and with caution. June is National Safety Month we would like to remind customers of 10 ways to avoid electrical safety hazards.
  1. Never handle electric appliances with wet hands: Electricity and water don’t mix. Do not handle electric appliances with wet or damp hands, and never use electric appliances in wet or damp conditions unless the appliances are specifically rated for this use.
  2. Protect electric outlets close to sources of water: Electric outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and garages should be ground fault circuit interrupting (GFCI) outlets to reduce the chance of electric shock. GFCI outlets are required around pools and spas. Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI), especially in homes with aging wiring systems, can also be added to enhance protection from fires.
  3. Secure electric sockets around toddlers and babies: Toddlers can easily insert objects into electric outlets that are not covered properly. All outlets within reach should be protected with plastic closures that fit snugly and cannot be removed easily. Also, replace or upgrade any faceplates that expose the wiring behind.
  4. Eliminate defective or worn electric wires: Inspect all appliances and extension cords regularly to ensure that they are in good condition. Cords should not be loose or frayed and should have a grounding prong intact if so equipped.
  5. Never work on electric equipment with the power on: When doing work on electric equipment, ensure that all sources of electricity to the appliance are turned off. Be sure to shut off the correct breaker. A simple voltage tester can be purchased for home use at a local electrical supply store.
  6. Never pour water on an electric fire: Water acts as a conductor and can cause shock. You must use a fire extinguisher that is rated as Class C for use on electric fires.
  7. Leave wiring to the professionals: Proper electric wiring for any building is critical and must meet codes and standards of safety. Employ the services of a licensed professional who can do the job safely and correctly.
  8. Watch for overheating bulbs and lights: Lights and bulbs can be sources of heat and must be kept away from such flammable materials as upholstery, drapes, bedding and cribs. Never exceed the maximum wattage specified for the device.
  9. Don’t misuse extension cords: Never use extension cords as a permanent substitute for additional outlets. Also, never overload extension cords and block off any unused outlets. Discard them if they have worn out wires or loose connections.
  10. Check for covered cords and wires: Electric wires and cords radiate heat. Never cover wires with rugs or furniture. They could overheat and start a fire.
To learn more about potential electrical hazards and how to use electricity safely, visit the National Safety Council or the Electrical Safety Foundation International.