Pow­er­ful mes­sage: Treat elec­tric­ity with re­spect

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

BY AN­GELA BROWN

News Staff When elec­tric­ity is in­volved, care­less­ness can be deadly. North Glen­garry Fire Chief Stephen Stewart stresses that peo­ple must be care­ful when they con­nect an elec­tri­cal de­vice to a tem­po­rary power source, such as an ex­ten­sion cord.

“Any time I see them I say: ‘That’s tem­po­rary. How long have you been work­ing at that? Oh no, you need a plug.’”

Long-term use of an ex­ten­sion cord can put peo­ple them­selves and their prop­erty at risk.

Mr. Stewart ad­vises peo­ple to find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to a prob­lem rather than look for a quick fix.

As an ex­am­ple, he said in­di­vid­u­als shouldn’t run a de­hu­mid­i­fier all sum­mer long when the ma­chine is con­nected to an ex­ten­sion cord. In­stead, they should call an elec­tri­cian to in­stall a per­ma­nent elec­tri­cal out­let close to where the de­hu­mid­i­fier is lo­cated.

He also cau­tions peo­ple against cov­er­ing an ex­ten­sion cord with a car­pet, es­pe­cially if the cord is warm to the touch and if it is con­nect- ed to a de­vice that uses a lot of power.

It’s also im­por­tant to con­sider pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance for all elec­tri­cal sys­tems.

In­di­vid­u­als may buy a new house with wiring that was in­stalled by a cer­ti­fied elec­tri­cian and was ap­proved by the Elec­tri­cal Safety Au­thor­ity, that en­forces the On­tario Elec­tri­cal Safety Code. But if the own­ers don’t fol­low safe prac­tices them­selves, their home still can be at risk of fire.

The au­thor­ity’s en­gi­neer­ing and pro­gram de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Nansy Hanna rec­om­mends res­i­dents regularly check for po­ten­tial elec­tri­cal safety haz­ards that can ex­ist around their home. They should also re­place frayed ex­ten­sion cords with new ones, and “choose the right ex­ten­sion cord for the job.”

“There are spe­cial ex­ten­sion cords rated for use with ap­pli­ances, like heaters and air con­di­tion­ers, and also ones specif­i­cally for out­door use,” she noted.

Res­i­dents should never re­move the third prong on a cord be­cause it needs to be there to pre­vent shocks. They should re­place any bro­ken or miss­ing switch­plate cov­ers right away, and keep ex­ten­sion cords away from heat and wa­ter.

Own­ers con­sid­er­ing a home ren­o­va­tion that in­cludes elec­tri­cal work should al­ways hire a li­cenced elec­tri­cal con­trac­tor. For a list of li­cenced elec­tri­cians and for more in­for­ma­tion on elec­tri­cal home safety tips, visit esasafe.com

The On­tario Elec­tri­cal Safety Code re­quires that re­cep­ta­cles in bed­rooms have arc fault cir­cuit pro­tec­tion ca­pa­bil­ity.

Ms. Hanna ex­plains arc faults are caused by “dam­aged, over­heated, or stressed elec­tri­cal wiring or de­vices, and can oc­cur when older wires be­come frayed or cracked, or when a nail or screw dam­ages a wire be­hind a wall.”

Out­lets that pro­vide such pro­tec­tion de­tect the de­fect and dis­con­nect the power source.

Ms. Hanna wants to raise aware­ness that a new code re­quire­ment, an­tic­i­pated to come into ef­fect in May, 2016, will oblige home own­ers also to have such safe­guards through­out their res­i­dences.

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