Introduction > Take the Test > Fire Prevention > Be Prepared > Special Considerations > Smoking and Fires > Fire Safety Quick List
Fire Prevention: Electricity
- Don't use electrical cords or appliances that have exposed, old, or otherwise faulty wiring.
In particular, watch out for electrical blankets and space heaters with bad/old wiring. If your home is more than thirty years old, you may want to have an electrician check the internal wiring to ensure that it meets the National Electrical Code. For more information, visit the National Fire Protection Association, Inc.
- Don't place electrical cords under rugs or fasten them with things like nails or staples.
While loose electrical cords can be another kind of safety hazard (who hasn't tripped or gotten caught on one at some point in their life?), 'tricks' to keep them out of the way can sometimes do more harm than good. Cords that are 'hidden' under rugs become damaged more quickly from the weight of people walking on them; in addition, people are less likely to notice the damage because they are hidden away. Similarly, fastening cords with staples or nails can potentially cause electrocution (in the process) or expose live wires.
- Don't put anything but a plug into an electrical outlet.
With the exception of safety covers to protect small children (which will be discussed in more detail in the safety-proofing section of the home safety class) the only thing you should put in your electrical socket should be an electrical cord. Sticking anything else into a socket can lead to fire or electrocution (especially if the object is metal.) You should be cautious even when plugging in an appropriate electrical cord and be sure not to touch the metal prongs in the process.
- Don't put too many plugs in an electrical outlet.
Drawing too much energy from one electrical outlet can cause you to loose electricity or (far worse) start an electrical fire. You may also want to consider buying a surge protector to protect expensive equipment (like computers, TVs, and stereos) from electrical surges, which can cause damage. Heavy current appliances such as stoves, hot water heaters, electric dryers, etc. should be on separate circuit breakers or fuses because they draw a lot of current.
- Turn off lights, stereos, TVs and other electrical equipment when you are finished using them.
Save energy, money, and be safe all at the same time! Consider gradually switching to long-lasting compact florescent bulbs for your lamps. Although more expensive than the conventional bulbs, they last years and use less energy.
- Don't try to 'fix' electrical appliances or wiring yourself.
Unless you are a licensed electrician, don't try to fix your home wiring or appliances, even if it seems straightforward. Use caution when working around electrical outlets or sources (such as light fixtures) to avoid exposing yourself to or damaging live electrical wires.
Next: Fire Prevention: Outdoors