Sheldon, Iowa — Every day, we rely on electricity to power our homes and offices. However, it is important to always be safe around electric appliances, equipment, and power lines. May is National Electrical Safety Month.
Northwest Iowa Community College Electrical Instructor Phil Louters says that by taking simple precautions, everyone can avoid electrically related fires, fatalities, injuries, and property loss.
Experts suggest these tips:
|· Check electric cords for fraying or cracking. Replace cords that may be damaged, and don’t overload electric outlets.|
|· Remember extension cords are intended to be temporary; they are not intended as permanent household wiring.|
|· Don’t run cords under carpets or rugs and don’t tack or nail cords to walls or floors.|
|· Keep electric appliances and tools away from water. Never reach for or unplug an appliance that has fallen into water; instead, turn the power off at the breaker before you unplug the appliance or remove it from the water.|
|· Never put anything other than an electrical plug in an outlet. Use outlet covers or caps to protect children.|
|· Keep your home’s electrical system in good repair.|
Louters says you should always contact a licensed electrical contractor if you have flickering lights, sparks, non-functioning outlets, or need wiring repairs or upgrades.
He says if you are working with something electric, don’t make assumptions.
He also reminds us that three-prong outlets and plugs exist for a reason — and says don’t defeat the purpose of the plug.
Lauters tells us that if the power goes through you, you will get a shock, and in some cases it could be fatal. He says older homes don’t always have 3-pronged outlets, and sometimes a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI can be installed and will provide at least SOME protection in that type of situation. He says you can contact an electrician for more information.