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3 important electrical safety tips

April 29, 2016

When it comes to safety awareness, the month of May is chock full of important dates. Not only is it designated for both water and bike safety, but for the last several years the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has declared May as Electrical Safety Month. While not as obvious a danger as drowning or bike accidents, electrical mishaps in the home and workplace result in 30,000 non-fatal shock injuries each year, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Avoiding these accidents is easy, no matter where you are, and it just takes awareness and understanding. Here are five helpful tips to keep in mind:

"Some 30,000 non-fatal shock injuries occur each year."

1. Watch out for warning signs
Even if you're not a trained electrician, the National Fire Protection Association explained that there are a few signs that indicate hazardous electrical issues. If any of the cords to and from the outlets appear loose, it's important to replace these before they fray or break completely. If any outlets or wall switches feel warm to the touch, this can indicate either tripped circuits or blown fuses. You may also notice some discoloration around a light switch; this can also be proof of burnt out wires. No matter the issue, make sure you always get a professional electrician to come and check out the problem, including performing yearly maintenance.

2. Be cautious with cords
They may seem innocuous, but electrical cords contribute significantly to the thousands of fall-related incidents  each year. It's for that reason that Alliant Energy emphasized the importance of keeping your cords neat and organized. Whether you're at the home or office, you should never plug multiple cords in one outlet or extension source, which is the cause of a number of electrical fires. If you do have multiple cords together, make sure they're bundled in a neat line, preferably in a space with limited foot traffic. Whenever you remove a plug from the wall, never pull it out; this can fray the wires and lead to a fire or other accidents.

3. Set up safeguards
According to NFPA, electrical cords and temporary wiring account for a quarter of the 81,000-plus electrical fires that happen annually. Aside from the way cords are handled, Nationwide insurance explained that there are a handful of safeguards you can employ at home or in the office. The circuit box is one area where safeguards will be a huge help. Be sure to label every single switch and fuse on the panel board, as this will make shutting something down that much easier. You also want to cover up any unused electrical openings with fittings and enclosures; this prevents any accidental exposures. Finally, keep the area around any electrical equipment free of obstacles that might cause any fires or other accidents.

It's important to take whatever steps possible to avoid electrical mishaps. However, if you do experience an injury during repair or your day-to-day business, you can head to your nearest CareWell Urgent Care Center. With locations across the Eastern Seaboard, CareWell can treat electrical-related injuries, including minor burns or bruises and muscle tears from falls.

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