For National Electrical Safety Month, Southern California Edison and the Electrical Safety Foundation International urge Californians to have a healthy respect for electricity and to be aware of electrical hazards.
Around 51,000 home fires each year involving electrical failure or malfunction injure more than 1,400 people in the US. These cause around $1.3 billion in property damage. Close to 400 people are electrocuted.
Southern California Edison recommends seven simple safety rules:
- Put plastic safety caps in unused wall outlets to prevent children from pushing objects into outlet openings.
- Never remove the third prong from a three-pronged plug. The third prong grounds electricity. If you don’t have three-hole outlets, adapters are available at the hardware store.
- Repair or replace damaged or brittle electrical cords. They can cause shorts, shocks or electrical fires. Check appliances to make sure cords are in good condition.
- Use electrical cords properly. To avoid damaging cords, remove them from outlets by pulling the plug, not the cord. Never attach a cord to another surface with nails or staples, which can break the insulation. Avoid kinking, twisting, binding or walking on cords.
- Use ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs, to protect yourself from shock. These special outlets prevent electric shock by detecting electrical faults and shutting off electricity to the outlet when necessary. They are especially important in kitchens, bathrooms and other places where water is present.
- Keep water away from electricity and electrical appliances.
- Know how to safely care for and replace fuses and how to reset circuit breakers.
Information on electrical safety can be found at www.sce.com/safety.