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5 Tips for Preventing Electrical Accidents & Injuries

Electricity is ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives, making it easy to forget just how dangerous it can be. Household electrical accidents & injuries are frighteningly common, accounting for many thousands of burns, shocks, fires, and electrocutions each year. Follow these crucial safety tips to learn how to identify and avoid electrical hazards in your St. Petersburg, FL, home.

Follow Proper Electrical Safety Practices

Though we often take it for granted, electricity is an incredibly powerful force that should always be treated with caution. There are many potential hazards around the house, but most electrical accidents and injuries are preventable with the proper precautions. As such, it’s important to be vigilant in following basic electrical safety practices and principles, including:

  • Unplugging appliances and other devices when not in use
  • Keeping unused receptacles covered, especially around children
  • Never touching switches, receptacles, or cords with wet hands
  • Checking cords for signs of damage or wear before use
  • Always plugging high-draw appliances directly into wall outlets
  • Never unplug a device by pulling on the power cord

Use Extension Cords and Power Strips Sparingly

As convenient as they are, extension cords and power strips should never be used as permanent solutions. Instead, consider installing additional receptacles if your existing outlets aren’t sufficient to meet your power needs. If you must use an extension cord or power strip temporarily, look for products tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Never run extension cords under rugs or furniture, and keep them out of the reach of pets. To reduce the risk of tripping, you can use clips to attach cords to walls or baseboards. If you use a power strip, plug it directly into the wall and avoid overloading it with too many devices. In addition, check to make sure the strip is equipped with a resettable circuit breaker.

Install Fault Protection Devices in Your Home

An electrical fault is a dangerous condition that allows current to escape from the specific circuit through which it normally flows. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including damaged or faulty wiring, loose connections, overloaded circuits, and power surges. Not surprisingly, faults are a leading cause of accidental electrocutions, house fires, and other electricity-related incidents.

While these malfunctions can’t always be prevented, ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) can greatly minimize the resulting dangers. Upon detecting a fault, these devices react almost instantaneously to safely de-energize the outlet or circuit in which they’re installed. GFCIs should be used anywhere outlets may be exposed to water, including bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor areas. Meanwhile, AFCIs are best used in bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, and other gathering places.

Hire Qualified Professionals for All Electrical Work

If you’re DIY-inclined, you’ve undoubtedly felt the temptation to roll up your sleeves and tackle electrical work on your own. Considering the stakes, however, these projects are usually best left to the pros. Not only is working with electricity extremely hazardous, but it’s also unforgiving. Even small mistakes can increase the risk of faults and other mishaps that may render your electrical system unsafe.

When you hire a licensed professional, you won’t need to worry about a thing. Qualified electricians have the training, equipment, and expertise to safely and efficiently perform all types of electrical installations and repairs. Reputable contractors also have insurance coverage, so you won’t be left on the hook if something goes wrong.

Proactively Eliminate Potential Electrical Hazards

Ultimately, the best way to avoid electrical accidents & injuries is to prevent dangerous situations from occurring in the first place. That’s why we recommend having your electrical system inspected by a professional at least every three to five years. Regular inspections ensure your wiring, fixtures, and other components are up to code, well-maintained, and working as intended to keep you safe.

In addition, it’s essential to be aware of any signs that may indicate trouble with your electrical system. These include dimming lights, tripping circuit breakers, buzzing or crackling sounds, burning smells, and sparking or scorched outlets. Contact an electrician right away if you notice any of these warning signs.

Are you concerned about the safety of your home’s electrical system? Call Climate Design today for speedy electrical services in St. Petersburg and communities throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Image provided by iStock

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