Electricity is a trusted source of power. If used carelessly, though, it can be electrifying in all the wrong ways. The dangers range from electric shock or burn to damage to your home. Keep your family safe by plugging into these safety measures.
Inside the home
- Watch out for signs of electrical issues, such as flickering lights or circuit breakers that trip repeatedly. Contact a qualified electrician if you suspect a problem.
- Have your home inspected by a qualified electrician to ensure all electric work matches current safety code requirements.
- Make sure all lightbulbs are within the wattage limits listed on fixtures.
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and near sleeping areas.
- Make sure ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets are installed in areas where electrical devices may come into contact with water, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, basement and garage.
- In homes with young children, install tamper-resistant outlets.
- Avoid overloading outlets; have additional outlets or circuits installed by a qualified electrician if needed.
- Use extension cords only temporarily, and never cover them with rugs or blankets.
- Keep your electrical panel free from obstructions.
Outside the home
- Install protective covers on all outdoor outlets and make sure they're protected by GFCIs.
- Inspect power tools, including cords, for wear or damage before using.
- Store all power tools indoors to protect them from weather damage.
- Use extension cords marked for outdoor use and check for damage before using.
- Look around for overhead power lines before using a ladder or trimming a tree branch.
- Power lines may be located underground. Before digging, call 811 to have utility lines marked.
- Operate portable generators according to the manufacturer's guidelines.
- Make sure any equipment plugged into the generator doesn't exceed the capacity of the unit.
This list is intended only as a guide. For more complete electrical safety standards and recommendations, contact your local building inspector or state fire marshal.