Living with Electricity

To learn how you can live safely with electricity, please read the tips below:
 

Electrical Equipment/Appliances

  • Never touch electrical equipment while in the tub or shower.
  • Keep all electrical appliances far enough away from water in tubs, showers and sinks so you cannot touch them, and they cannot fall in and discharge electricity through the water and shock you.
  • Do not use any appliance while you're touching metal or anything wet. Never plug in or unplug an electric cord while your hands are wet.  Be sure outlets near water sources have ground fault circuit interrupters to protect you against shock.
  • Always unplug an appliance before cleaning it. Even if turned off, it can shock you. Use outlets with GFCI's (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter), also called RCDs (residual current devices),  for appliances near sinks.
  • Pull by the plug, not the cord, when unplugging an appliance.
 
Never hold an electric appliance in one hand while touching metal objects such as taps, fridges or stoves with the other. This is because our bodies are made up of 70% of water and they thus become very good electricity conductors.
 
Unplug kettles, toasters and other electrical appliances when not in use.  On/Off switches can fail leaving the appliance on unknown to you.
  
Never put keys, fingers, forks or anything in an electrical outlet.
 
What do you do with refrigerated foods when the power goes out?
Keep the refrigerator closed. Refrigerated food should be safe for about four hours, but milk, dairy products, eggs, meats and all cooked foods spoil quickly. Throw them out if the temperature rises above 40 degrees F for two hours or more. The risk of food poisoning is never worth the cost of the food. 
 
Unplug clothes iron when not in use.
 
Check to make sure power tools have a 3-prong plug or double insulated cords and consider replacing old tools that have neither.
 
Check power tools before each use for frayed cords, broken plugs or cracking housing.
 
Repair any appliance that sparks, smokes, or shocks you.

Lighting /Bulbs



A 100 watt bulb can generate heating temperatures higher than some ovens. Keep all flammable material such as drapes and curtains well away from exposed light bulbs. Install smoke detectors, keep a fire extinguisher on hand and have a family fire escape plan.
 
Use a bulb of the correct type and wattage; a bulb of too high wattage or of the wrong type may lead to fire through overheating.  Some ceiling fixtures and recessed lights can trap heat.
 
Never change a light bulb without first making sure that the current is switched off.
 
Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely – loose bulbs may overheat.
 
Run cold water through the tap after using hot water to ensure the next user isn’t caught unawares
 

Electrical Cords & Plugs


Extension cords are handy for temporary use.  Note that they are not designed for continuous use over a long period of time.  Therefore they should never be used in place of permanent wiring. 
 
Check to see that extension cords are not overloaded, as indicated by the ratings labeled on the cord and the appliance. Overloaded extension cords could cause fires. Change the cord to a higher rated one or unplug some appliances, and remember that extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis and are not intended as permanent household wiring.
 
Make sure cords are in good condition. A frayed or cracked cord could cause a shock or fire. Replace old and damaged extension cords with new ones having the certification label of an independent testing laboratory on the cord.
  
Never alter the wide prong of the polarized plug (seen on most electronic based equipment, e.g. a TV) to make it fit into an outdated outlet.  Have the outlet replaced and properly grounded to avoid any damage to the appliance or injury to you.
 

Outlets & Fuses

Most outlets are designed for two plugs only. Plugging many appliances into one outlet really overloads the circuit leading to overheating and burning.  You will need to install more outlets.
 
Never put your finger or anything other than an electrical plug in an outlet. Don't touch the metal part of the plug when plugging something into an outlet.
 
Check to see if outlets and switches are unusually warm or hot to the touch. If so, an unsafe wiring condition could exist. Do not use the outlet or switch; have a qualified electrician check the wiring as soon as possible.
 
Circuits for heavy appliances (e.g. dishwashers, cookers) usually require fuses rated higher than 15 amps and should be placed on individual circuits. 
 
Check to see that fuses are the correct size for the circuit. Replacing a correct size fuse with a larger size fuse can present a serious fire hazard.
 

Child Safety

Begin teaching children about electrical safety early. Train children not to put things into electrical outlets, and cover wall sockets with safety caps, also called outlet guards.  Always keep young children in a safe play area.