Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, electrical safety should be a top priority in your home. Awareness of electrical hazards is the key to reducing the staggering number of electrically
related home fires, injuries and deaths that occur every year. Nationally, electrical fires account for more
than 140,000 fires each year, resulting in 400 deaths, 4,000 injuries and $1.6 billion in property damage.
According to data, top electrical safety hazards include: electrical fires caused by aging wiring; misuse of surge suppressors and extension cords; and electrocutions from power lines, wiring systems and large appliances.
Follow these tips to protect yourself, your family and your home:
Building or Remodeling:
• Hire a qualified electrician to perform all electrical work.
• If you are buying or remodeling a home, have a qualified electrician inspect it.
Plugs & Receptacles:
• Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) – the outlets with buttons in the middle – to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed by a
qualified electrician inside the home in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI protected.
• Only plug in one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster or space heater) into a receptacle at a time.
• Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves and air conditioners) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Never use extension cords or plug strips.
• Never force a three-prong plug into a two-receptacle socket.
• Do not run electrical cords across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use. Have a qualified electrician add more outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
• Don’t staple or nail cords into position. If the cord does not remain where desired, use tape or twist ties to secure it.
• When unplugging a cord, pull on the cord at the outlet rather than tugging on the cord itself.
• Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. There should be a sticker that indicates the maximum wattage light bulb to use. 8449002
• Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn.
• Be sure to unplug or turn off a fixture completely before changing light bulbs.
Call a qualified electrician if you have:
• Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers.
• A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance.
• Discolored or warm wall outlets.
• A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance.
• Flickering or dimming lights.
• Sparks from an outlet.
If an electrical fire does happen, immediately call 911 or the appropriate emergency services. Never put water on an electrical fires; use a dry fire extinguisher or baking soda instead. At West Florida Electric Cooperative, the safety of our members, our employees and our neighbors is top priority. Safety starts here.