While electricity makes living easier and more enjoyable, right now, you could be living with dangerous electrical hazards.

Learn these safety tips and stay safe at home:
  • Call before you dig. Visit NC811
  • Have a qualified electrical contractor inspect your home to be sure it is properly grounded.
  • Large appliances should have their own circuit and be grounded with a three-pronged plug.
  • Never stand in water or on a damp floor when using electrical appliances – and don’t put any electrical parts in water.
  • Don’t locate your swimming pool under power lines.
  • Keep appliances in good condition.
  • Always unplug appliances – by pulling the plug, not the cord – when not in use.
  • Replace the appliance when a cord is worn or frayed. Remember, extension cords should only be used temporarily.
  • Don’t do amateur repairs on your appliances. Call a qualified technician. Never insert metal objects like knives or forks into a toaster.
  • If power shuts off in your home, try to find the cause. It may be a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. When resetting circuit breakers, don’t stand on a damp floor.
  • Never replace fuses with a copper penny or wrap one in aluminum foil.
  • Call a qualified electrician for inspection if power does not resume.
  • Be sure to keep space heaters clear of anything flammable, such as curtains or bed linens.
  • Purchase heaters that have automatic shut-off devices when knocked over.
  • Always unplug space heaters when not in use.
  • When using power tools, be sure your equipment is adequate for the job. There must be enough circuits of the correct size and all must be well grounded.
  • Use the safety release to prevent accidental starting.
  • Keep tools clean, and use and store them in a dry place. Dampness increases shock hazard.
  • Protect cords from heat, chemicals, gases, or oil and coil them loosely when finished.

Child Safety
  • Cover seldom-used outlets with well-fitting plastic safety plugs.
  • For outlets used frequently, get safety covers that let appliance cords pass in and out.
  • Never leave light bulb sockets empty. Replace burned out lights immediately.
  • Keep floors clear of small metal objects children may use to poke in outlets.
  • Put fans and portable heaters out of children’s reach.

Power Line Safety
  • Never use ladders near power lines and follow all manufacturer’s instructions for ladder use.  
  • If a power line or broken wire is down near your house, DO NOT touch it! NEVER assume the wire is dead. Contact 911 immediately. 
  • If someone is in contact with a live power line, the only safe thing to do is call 911 immediately. DO NOT attempt to move any outdoor electrical equipment or the victim.
  • Always assume fallen power lines are energized and call 911 immediately. 
  • Downed power lines can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or even death. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage zone – and it could do that through your body.
  • Click here for more downed power line safety tips.

Holiday Safety
  • Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights.
  • Keep trees fresh by watering daily.
  • Use battery-operated candles.
  • Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources.
  • Protect cords from damage.
  • Check decorations for certification label.
  • Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking.
  • Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house.

Avoid Electric Shock Drowning

Electric shock drowning (ESD) severely injures and kills people every year. Faulty wiring and the use of damaged electrical cords or other devices can cause surrounding water to become energized. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe when swimming or in marinas:

  • There is no visible warning to electrified water.
  • Locate and label all power switches to the pool, hot tub, spa equipment, and lighting.
  • Make sure all pools, hot tubs, and spas are at least 25 feet from power lines.
  • Have a qualified electrician inspect your pool, spa, or hot tub annually
  • All wiring and repairs should be performed by a qualified electrician.
  • Install GFCIs, which can prevent electrocution, on all receptacles within 20 feet of the water’s edge.
  • Docks and boats carry sources of electricity. NEVER swim near a marina or a boat while it is running.

Source: Electric Shock Drowning – Water and Electricity Don’t Mix – Electrical Safety Foundation (esfi.org)