Safety Check List
- Keep appliances away from water or wet hands.
- Unplug an appliance before cleaning.
- Never put metal objects in live parts of appliances or in outlets.
- If an appliance overheats, unplug it and have it checked.
- Use only electrical equipment that is approved by a recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Keep power cords dry. The insulation won't withstand direct heat, repeated yanking, bending or wetness.
- Only pull on the plug head, never on the cord.
- Never carry an appliance by its cord.
- Don't run a cord under a rug or furniture. It may be damaged or overheat.
- Turn off heating and cooking appliances before leaving home.
- Don't overload outlets.
- If you must use an extension cord temporarily, match the amperage or wattage limits marked on the cord and appliance to avoid a fire hazard.
- Check all cords for wear. Choose double-insulated or properly grounded tools for use outdoors or in wet areas.
- Outdoor electrical outlets should have weatherproof covers.
- When using portable saws, trimmers, or drills, keep the cord behind you where it can't be cut.
- Always use outlets with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to protect against serious shock.
- Keep kites, model airplanes, fishing poles, etc away from powerlines.
What is a ground fault?
A ground fault occurs when electricity travels outside an intended path, because of a frayed wire or faulty device, and tries to get to the ground by the shortest route. Unless you have an outlet with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), you may be seriously shocked or burned because you may be the shortest route to the ground.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
GFCIs are found in outlets and service panels. They monitor the flow of current to and from appliances. If there's an imbalance in the flow, current may be traveling through you, and the GFCI will quickly cut power to prevent serious injury.
GFCIs are required in newer homes in bathrooms and garages, near kitchen sinks, and outdoors. They can be added as temporary plug-in GFCI adapters, or they can also be added by an electrician as replacement outlets. If your outlets don't have GFCI test and reset buttons, check your main service panel — you may have some ground fault protected circuit breakers.
Three Prong Plug
When you use a plug with three prongs, the third prong connects inside the outlet with a "ground wire" which usually connects to a water pipe or a ground rod at the service panel. As a result, in a short circuit, electricity should flow to the ground instead of through you. Never remove a third prong.