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Indoor Electrical Safety

wire_cutterThink for a moment about all the different types of electrical devices and appliances you have inside your home, many of which you and your family use every day. All of them, regardless of how “small” they might seem, can carry dangerous, even lethal, voltage through them.

General electrical safety reminders

  • Your body can be a conductor of electricity. Take extra care to avoid touching bare wires, faulty appliances, or electrical outlets.
  • If you are unsure whether a wire or electrical appliance is energized, always assume it is.
  • Never use an electric appliance like a shaver or hair dryer in the tub or shower or touch an electrical device with wet hands. Shocks can be fatal!
  • Never poke a metal object into an appliance, such as a toaster, without unplugging it first. Metal conducts electricity.
  • Check the wattage in appliance labels to avoid overloading a circuit. Overload can result in a fire.
  • Keep extension cords a safe distance from heat, metal, and moisture. Never place cords under carpet and area rugs.

Preparing for electrical fires

  • Conduct family fire drills and establish a meeting place outside the home where all members would know in the event of a fire.
  • Install smoke alarms in strategic locations. Check batteries and test at least once a year.
  • Place fire extinguishers on every floor of your home with instructions for use.

In the event of an electrical fire

  • Dial 911. Alert the dispatcher that you are reporting an electrical fire or suspect an electrical fire. Why? Electrical fires are handled much differently from other types of fires.
  • Never put water on an electrical fire. Instead, use a home fire extinguisher or baking soda if it’s a small, contained fire.
  • Do not try to extinguish large fires yourself.

Dealing with an electrical accident at home

  • Unplug or turn off the power source.
  • Never touch someone who is in contact with an electrical current/power source.
  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Electrical burns and injuries are not always visible, and can be internal. Do not touch burned skin. Small burns should be run under cold water. See a doctor or call for medical assistance should you suspect internal injuries or for severe burns on the skin.
  • For a victim that is not breathing, call 911 immediately and begin rescue breathing or artificial respiration. For victims without a pulse, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while you wait for help to arrive. Never approach a victim until you know for certain that the power source has been shut off or unplugged!