Electric safety is mainly an exercise in common sense, but it helps to know some fundamentals of how electricity works .
Then, use these guidelines around the home and see our outdoor safety rules, too.
Never use a radio, hair dryer or any other electric device near water, especially in bathrooms or kitchens.
Ensure that bathroom outlets have Ground Fault Interrupter, commonly called a GFI, device that automatically trip the electricity off if a fault is detected. They are an inexpensive and smart investment. National Electric Code requires them in new homes.
Purchase hair dryers with fault protection built into their cords.
Breaker or fuse boxes control electric circuits in your home and are protective devices. If a circuit “trips” and the reason is not apparent, have an electrician find out what is going on. Never try to “cheat” a fuse box with a penny — you’re only inviting the possibility of fire.
Cut, punctured or scuffed electric cords are dangerous! Replace them immediately.
Never run a cord under a rug or through a wet area.
Three-pronged plugs are essential. The third prong is there to ground the wire and prevent shocks, so never tamper with it.
If an appliance sputters, sparks or buzzes, turn it off and get it fixed. Make sure any electric appliance you purchase has the Underwriters Laboratory tag or label (UL Approved).
Never overload a circuit or daisy-chain power strips. This invites danger by overloading the circuit.
Make sure any portable space heaters have a protective shut-off if tipped.
Never use space heaters near curtains or flammable material.
It still happens: People stick forks in toasters while the toaster is working. Always unplug or turn off any appliance before working with it.