Electrical Safety Tips
Check your electrical system.
- Look for burn marks at the main electrical panel; they can be a sign of arcing inside the panel, which can easily lead to a fire. Loose connections or damaged insulation can cause the arcing. Note: Only a qualified electrician should remove the front panel cover.
- Trip and reset the circuit breakers regularly.
- Remove any combustible materials such as paper boxes or flammable liquids from the area near the main electrical panel. Sparks caused by arcing inside the panel can ignite material stored nearby.
- Check all electrical outlets for loose-fitting plugs they are an indication of a worn out receptacle. Worn receptacles should be replaced as they cause overheating and fires. Also check electrical outlets and switches to be sure they work properly. If any switches, outlets or receptacles do not work, have a qualified electrician determine the problem and fix it to avoid fires inside the walls of your home.
- Install safety covers to help protect children from electrical shock. Any appliance or tool that gives even the slightest shock should be unplugged and checked by an electrician or repair shop.
Always have a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible.
Make sure it is Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed or Factory Mutual (FM) approved. Check the gauges to make sure they are charged and ready to use.
Make sure the light bulbs in all your fixtures are the correct wattage
The light fixture manufacturer recommends the correct wattage. If too high a wattage bulb is used in a light fixture, heat produced inside the fixture can lead to fire inside the fixture, ceiling or wall.
Consider installing a lightning protection system on your home.
Read more at Lightning protection systems.
Protect all your electrical appliances from power surges and lightning.
Read more at How to choose surge protection for your home.
Replace all extension cords that have become brittle, worn or damaged.
Exposed wires may cause arcing, which will produce heat and can start a fire. Care should also be taken to keep appliances and their power cords away from water or a heat source because this will damage the cord's insulation.
Inspect and clean dust from the covers of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Make sure all electrical holiday decorations have tight connections.
If possible, use 3-prong plugs and cords. The use of 2-prong adapters, which permit 3-prong plugs to be used in 2-prong outlets, doesn't always provide grounding to protect against shock. Unplug decorations when not in use.
Use of extension cords should be temporary. To help reduce the chances of overheating, electric cords, including extension cords, should never be bundled together or run under rugs and carpet.