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Indoor Safety

The Home Safety Council has come up with some guidelines to help you detect, correct and prevent electrical hazards.

  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in all bathrooms and kitchens. Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) should be used in bedrooms.
  • Check GFCI's monthly to ensure they are working correctly. If a GFCI does not disconnect power when tested, contact a professional electrician.
  • Use child-safety caps on wall outlets in homes where small children are present.
  • Never use worn, frayed or damaged cords or appliances.
  • Extension cords should only be used temporarily for supplying power to electrical appliances.
  • Always use the correct wattage light bulb.
  • Keep all appliances away from water.
  • Unplug small electric appliances when not in use.
  • Do not run electric cords under rugs or carpets. This can cause overheating.
  • Make sure all electric cords are in proper working condition and are not frayed or cut. Never piggy-back extension or cords or power strips.
  • Put waterproof covers on all outdoor outlets.
  • Use only outdoor-labeled extension cords outside.
  • Make sure all outlets and switches are covered with faceplates.
  • Use only three-pronged outlets for appliances with three-pronged plugs. Never remove the grounding pin or force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Replace any appliance that overheats, smokes or sparks, or causes electrical shocks.
  • Allow space around heat-producing appliances such as TV's, stereo receivers, and computers to prevent them from overheating.
  • Keep all potentially combustible items at least three feet away from all heaters.
  • Make sure all electrical equipment bears the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label.
  • Keep children away from heat-producing appliances including space heaters, irons and hair dryers.

The following are warning signs of potential fire hazards:

  • Dim and/or flickering lights
  • Arcs and sparks
  • Sizzles and buzzes
  • Overheating-Overheated wires can give off an odor of hot insulation; switch-plates or receptacle covers are hot to the touch or discolored.
  • Electrial shocks

If you experience or notice any of these signs, call a professional electrician to inspect and correct the problem.

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