Most electrical fires are preventable, and yet they continue to cause the loss of life and property. Please carefully read the safety tips below and make them a part of your home and work place fire prevention program.

Outlet Safety

With up to 12 fatalities a year and approximately 2,400 children suffering severe shocks and burns from electrical receptacles, a new regulation was put into the National Electrical Code in 2008. All new and renovated dwellings must now have tamper-resistant(TR) outlets. This type of receptacle has a spring-loaded shutter that closes off the openings of the outlet.

If you don’t fall into the new or renovated dwelling category, use a childproof cap for unused outlets, or block them off with a solid cover plate.

Never try to force a plug into an outlet that wasn’t made to accept it, and don’t ask too much from a single outlet. Avoid multiple adapters, and the use extension cords and power strips sparingly and with caution.

In potentially hazardous areas like crawlspaces, unfinished basements, near sources of water and near pools, install ground fault circuit interrupter outlets.

Never put any object other than the appropriate size plug into an outlet.

Extension Cord Safety

The first thing to remember is that extension cords should only be used to temporarily provide electric power to a product that can't be plugged directly into an outlet.

Never staple or nail an extension cord into position. Only use tape or plastic guides to secure it in place.

Never place an extension cord beneath a rug where it can become a trip hazard or where frays will not be noticed.

Never modify the plug of an extension cord by clipping off the third prong or filing down a wide prong to fit into the slot of an outlet.

Check your extension cords before you use them. It they are frayed or cracked, throw them away.

Be sure your extension cord is rated for outdoor use if that's what you require, and use the proper weight and length of cord for your task.

When unplugging a cord, pull it out at the receptacle, rather than tugging on the cord itself.

Appliance Safety

Give several inches of air circulation clearance around all appliances that generate heat.

Keep all electrical appliances away from water such as sinks, bathtubs, pools or overhead vents that may drip. And do not operate them with wet hands or while standing in water.

Keep clothes, curtains, toys and other potentially combustible materials at least three feet away from space heaters and other appliances that generate a lot of heat.

Unplug unused appliances and stow cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.

Outdoor Safety

Make sure your trees and bushes are not working their way toward power lines. Keep them pruned and away When using a ladder, make certain there are no power lines around. Never approach a downed power line. Immediately call local authorities instead.

Light Bulb Safety

Always use the right size bulb for your fixture. Using a higher wattage bulb than what is called for can cause a fixture to overheat.

Always screw bulbs in tightly. A loose bulb can cause sparks or shorts.

Before changing a light bulb, be sure to unplug or turn off the fixture you are servicing.

How to handle an Electrical Fire

After you call 911, determine whether of not you have the time to keep the fire from spreading before help arrives.

Do not put water on an electrical fire, use a dry fire extinguisher or baking soda instead.

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