How to avoid elec­tri­cal mishaps around the house

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

Ac­ci­dents around the home hap­pen. Some are mi­nor and eas­ily brushed off, while oth­ers can lead to se­ri­ous in­jury or fi­nan­cial peril.

Many ac­ci­dents, even those that are rel­a­tively mi­nor, can be pre­vented. Such is of­ten the case with elec­tri­cal ac­ci­dents, which may be more com­mon than many peo­ple think. Ac­cord­ing to the Elec­tri­cal Safety Foun­da­tion In­ter­na­tional, home elec­tri­cal fires ac­count for an es­ti­mated 51,000 fires each year, re­sult­ing in roughly 500 deaths and more than $1 bil­lion in prop­erty dam­age. Home­own­ers who want to do all they can to re­duce the like­li­hood of elec­tri­cal mishaps at home can em­ploy var­i­ous strate­gies.

• Be mind­ful of cords and plugs. Cords and plugs can be found through­out the typ­i­cal home. While few peo­ple may per­ceive cords and plugs as threats, they can serve as cat­a­lysts for ac­ci­dent and/or in­jury. Cords and plugs should al­ways be kept clear of heat and wa­ter sources, and cords should not be placed in ar­eas where they can pose any trip­ping haz­ards. Even if residents grow ac­cus­tomed to cord lo­ca­tions and know to ma­neu­ver around them, guests won’t be as fa­mil­iar. When pulling plugs from out­lets, al­ways pull the plug, and not the cord, to re­duce in­jury risk.

• Pe­ri­od­i­cally take in­ven­tory of elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances and com­po­nents. Some elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances age well, while oth­ers may not. Pe­ri­odic in­spec­tions of ap­pli­ances and their com­po­nents, such as their cords, can re­veal wear and tear that can lead to fires or in­juries. Re­place any items that pose a threat and stop us­ing th­ese items im­me­di­ately. • Avoid DIY elec­tri­cal work. Many home­own­ers are handy with ham­mers and other tools, but pro­fes­sion­als are bet­ter trusted to per­form elec­tri­cal work on a home. The risk of ac­ci­dent or in­jury when work­ing with wir­ing and other elec­tri­cal com­po­nents is sim­ply too great for un­trained home­own­ers to do on their own.

• Un­plug ap­pli­ances be­fore flip­ping a fuse. Fuses blow from time to time. Some may be knocked out by es­pe­cially pow­er­ful storms, while oth­ers may blow be­cause they’re over­loaded. Re­gard­less of why fuses blow, home­own­ers should turn off ap­pli­ances on blown fuses be­fore flip­ping those fuses back on. Leav­ing ap­pli­ances run­ning when flip­ping a fuse can in­crease the risk of fire or ac­ci­dent. Turn off ap­pli­ances, un­plug them and then turn them back on one by one af­ter the fuse has been flipped.

• Be es­pe­cially cau­tious if any­one smells gas. Gas leaks are of­ten de­tected by the aroma of the gas in the air. When such leaks are de­tected, home­own­ers should not touch or turn any elec­tri­cal switches. Do­ing so may cre­ate a spark that can re­act with the gas in the air, lead­ing to fire. If a gas leak is de­tected, go out­side and con­tact a lo­cal emer­gency ser­vice.

Many home elec­tri­cal mishaps can be pre­vented if home­own­ers ex­er­cise cau­tion and hire cer­ti­fied elec­tri­cal con­trac­tors to han­dle wir­ing and other elec­tri­cal tasks around their homes.

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