Some Tips for Electrical Safety

BY: PAMELA STERN

According to the Fire Department of New York City, two thirds of electrical fires begin in plugs or cords of refrigerators or lamps and frayed cords expose the electrical wires that spark on contact with each other or anything that can ground the electrical current.

Overloading electrical outlets is one of the major causes of fires in the home, according to the Fire Department of New York. All different types of electrical devices require different levels of charges and according to Mark Gardiner, joint lead officer for product safety at the Trading Standards Institute (TSI),”People should avoid leaving devices to charge unattended especially overnight.

What safety issues do you need to be aware of—well there are many and here is a list of some of them:

  • Check your larger appliances that use higher wattage such as; refrigerators, microwaves, avoid plugging them into the same outlet or circuit. Never have them plugged into an extension cord or a plug strip. l Use light bulbs with the appropriate wattage for the fixture.
  • Use extension cords only for temporary use, most cannot carry as much current as permanent wiring. l Never use an extension cord for large appliances
  • Protect all electrical cords from damage; do not run cords under carpets or rugs.
  • When purchasing electrical appliances such as a toaster or coffee maker, be sure that the equipment has the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) mark. The UL mark shows that the product has been safety tested.
  •  Inspect appliances regularly to make sure that they operate properly. If an appliance begins to operate with a different smell or makes an unusual sound or the cord is warm when you touch it pull the plug and discontinue using it. If the cord from the appliance is burning or smoking call 911 immediately.
  •  Never use an appliance with a damaged cord.
  • Give televisions, stereos and computers plenty of air space clearance so they won’t overheat.
  • To prevent overheating, never plug more than two appliances to an outlet at the same time.
  •  Fill unused outlets with plastic safety plugs, if there are toddlers in the apartment. Keep electrical cords away from small children.
  •  For added safety, use ground fault circuit interrupter power strips (cords that turn on and off) instead of extension cords.
  •  Be careful with extension cords. Too many items on a cord can start a fire. These are some helpful tips for electrical safety