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Electrical Hazards in the Home—What to Look For

The scariest thing in your home may no longer be the boogieman lurking in the closet or underneath the bed. Modern day appliances have given the boogieman a new makeover: electricity. Electricity is the scariest and most dangerous hazard within the home, moving at record defying speeds, not making a sound, and completely odorless. When electricity strikes, it can only destroy property and objects in its path – and when that object is a person, it severely disfigures or disables them, if not killing them first.

Don’t let the boogieman’s new makeover get the best of you and your home.

Check your home for the following electrical hazards:

  • Frayed or worn electric cords
  • Appliance plugs “piggy backed” on a single switch
  • Electrical appliances such as radios, hairdryers, shavers, portable lamps, or radiators used near showers, baths or swimming pools
  • Extension cords being used instead of permanent indoor/outdoor wiring
  • Wet floors are present where electricity is used
  • Electrical appliances that blow fuses, overheat, or spark heavily

The best way to reduce the risk of death from electric shock at home is to have a safety switch, called a residual current device (RCD), fitted within your household fuse box. If there is faulty or wet wiring, or any electric current passing through a person, the safety switch will cut off the power within a fraction of a second. While the safety switch is not guaranteed to stop an electrical shock, it is guaranteed to make the injury much less serious.

Turn off electrical hazards in your home permanently by avoiding the following:

  • Have a licensed electrician install a safety switch inside the house to replace your external fuse box.
  • Frayed, worn, or damaged cords and extension cords should not be repaired with tape—throw them out.
  • Always turn an appliance off before unplugging it.
  • When unplugging an appliance, make sure to hold the plug and not the cord.
  • Turn small appliances off when not in use.
  • Make sure outdoor appliances don’t come into contact with pools or puddles of water.
  • When using electricity in wet areas, always wear rubber sole shoes.
  • Never touch appliances or switches with wet hands.
  • Never fold or crumple an electric blanket.
  • Call a licensed electrician for any repairs needed to switches, power points, or light fittings.
  • Send faulty appliances to be repaired or throw them out. Don’t attempt to repair them yourself unless you are qualified.
  • Use plug-in covers to prevent children from poking objects into power points.
  • Make sure to unplug electrical appliances after using them.

Make sure to place electrical appliances where children are unable to reach them.

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