In years past, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has declared February National Electrical Safety Month. Though many people think Christmas is especially fraught with electrical dangers, the rest of the year can prove just as hazardous. In 2011 alone, electrical failures resulted in 1,570 injures and $1.4 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
With February now upon us, it's the perfect time to learn these five valuable tips for ensuring continued electrical safety in your home:
"In 2011, electrical failures resulted in 1,570 injuries in the U.S."
1. Don't blow a fuse
A blown fuse is an unavoidable part of owning a home. When it does occur, be sure to turn off every light and appliance in the house. As for actually changing the fuse, be sure you've purchased replacements with identical ratings, as different sizes or qualities can cause issues with overheating. As part of regular maintenance, check on your fuse box periodically, especially if you suspect there are any loose plugs.
2. Remember to unplug
If you spend a chunk of your day at work, you may want to consider unplugging major appliances like the stove or microwave. Not only do you reduce your chances of some dangerous incident, but also USA Today reported that you can save up to $100 on your annual electrical bill. When unplugging anything, always make sure your hands are dry and that you pull the plug and not the cord, which can splinter.
3. Never go overboard
Power strips are a great way to maximize both space and the number of electrical outlets in your home. However, plugging in too many appliances and devices can potentially cause electrical fires. Most sources will say to use only one power strip per outlet and to keep multiple strips separated. When purchasing a strip, be sure to look for one with a built-in surge protector.
4. Heed the signs
Most people assume there is a problem with their electrical systems only when the lights don't work. However, Safe Bee explained that there are a number of slightly more subtle signs to watch out for. These include weird odors, which can indicate burnt-out wires, flickering lights and light plates that are warm to the touch. If you're ever in doubt, call a certified electrician to conduct a proper inspection.
5. Know how to react
Even with these steps, an electrical fire may not be entirely avoidable. When dealing with a fire, pull the plug on the device and switch the power off completely at the fuse box. Never use water on any electrical fire, as this can cause a short even if the power has already been cut. Instead, you'll want to use a carbon dioxide extinguisher, which is specially designed to tackle electrical fires. If you ever think you're ill-prepared to handle the situation, call your local fire department ASAP.
In case of any electrical-related injuries, you can always visit your nearest CareWell Urgent Care Center. At each of its facilities across the Eastern Seaboard, CareWell and its expert team of physicians provide the best care possible for any minor electrical burns and other accompanying injuries and pains.