Electrical Safety Month This May April 24, 2020
Because May is “Electrical Safety Month,” we thought it important to look at some ways to safely manage electricity. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) announced “Smart Home” as the theme for this year’s campaign and is focusing on devices that help keep a home smart, safe, and secure. We have compiled some of the organization’s lifesaving tips below.
According to ESFI, the average American home was built in 1977. At more than 40 years old, most homes are unprepared to handle the demands placed on them by modern technology, like devices and appliances. Electrical malfunctions and hazards cause approximately 35,000 house fires, more than 1,130 injuries, $1.4 billion in property damages, and at least 500 deaths every year. Certain warning signs can precipitate potentially deadly electrical malfunctions, like:
- A buzzing, crackling, or sizzling sound from outlets, switches, and other receptacles,
- Discolored outlets,
- Burning odor coming from receptacles or wall switches,
- Appliances that appear or sound underpowered,
- Frequent tripping of circuit breakers or blowing of fuses, and:
- Dimming of the lights when other devices are also turned on.
Ways To Prevent Fires
When an electrical circuit becomes overloaded it causes the wire to overheat, which can result in a fire. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent an electrical circuit from overloading. First, it is important to understand the way a circuit breaker works. Label your circuit breaker so you can avoid guessing which breaker is which in case you need to shut one off or fix a blown fuse. If you get a major appliance installed or your home is more than 40-years-old, the ESFI says a licensed electrician should inspect it.
More people are working from home now than ever before, so it is especially important to take extra precautions to avoid electrical hazards. Some of the ESFI’s electrical safety tips include:
- Regularly inspect all extension and electrical cords for damage, like frays and tears,
- Never plug space heaters or fans into power strips or extension cords,
- Do not run cords underneath carpets/rugs, windows, or doors. Also be sure that cords do not create tripping hazards,
- Use the proper wattage for lighting and lamps, and:
- Only use extension cords on a temporary basis
It is also critical to have smoke alarms in your home. Test smoke alarms every month to ensure they are functioning appropriately, and change the batteries yearly. Replace units every 10 years.
Electrical Safety Devices
The National Electric Code is revised every three years and details the minimum requirements for safe electrical installation in residences. Homes that are up to code should have electrical safety devices like surge protection devices, tamper resistant receptacles, ground-fault circuit interrupters, and arc-fault circuit interrupters. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that proper arc-fault circuit interrupter protection in a residence could prevent as many as 50% of the house fires that occur annually. Arc-fault circuit interrupters are devices that guard against electrical malfunctions in order to limit fires.
Manufacturers are responsible for creating safe products, but sometimes design defects or other types of flaws create unreasonable risks and dangers for consumers. When a person is injured because of an unsafe or defective product, he or she may want to consider filing a legal claim. To learn more, contact a representative at our firm who can help online now.
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Galfand Berger has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation with our legal team, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.