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Household Electrical Safety

Water and Electricity Don’t Mix

Don’t place any electrical appliances near water, i.e., a sink or a bathtub. Appliances that are used near water should be unplugged when not in use. If you have an appliance that is wet, unplug it and don’t use it until it’s been checked by a qualified repair person.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters - (GFCIs)

GFCIs can prevent many electrocutions. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. Test GFCIs regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure they are working properly.

Circuit Breakers/Fuses

Circuit breakers and fuses should be correct size for the circuits. If you do not know the correct size fuse, have an electrician identify and label the sizes. Never replace a fuse with anything but another correct size fuse.


If one appliance repeatedly blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker or if it has emitted an electric shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.


Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs which can overheat and lead to fires. Replace any broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.


Make sure cords are in good condition - not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall baseboard or to another object and they should not have any furniture resting on them.

Extension Cords

Check to see that the cords are in good condition. Additionally, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not safe as permanent household wiring.

Power Strips

Do not overload power strips. If a power strip is hot to the touch, remove and replace the unit. Do not plug a power strip into another existing power strip. This could lead to overheating or a fire.


Make sure the proper type of plug is in each outlet. If you are using three-prong plugs in a room with two-conductor outlets, do not cut off the ground pin (the third/bottom prong) from the plug; this could lead to an electrical shock hazard. A better solution is to use a two-prong adapter. NEVER FORCE A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN’T FIT. This could lead to fire or shock. Plug should fit securely into outlets and outlets should not be overloaded.

Light Bulbs

Check the wattage of all bulbs in lighting fixtures to make sure they do not exceed the maximum wattage limit for the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.



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