May is National Electrical Safety Month

May is National Electrical Safety Month. Consumers are urged to celebrate the event by performing an electrical safety check on their home and products.

Every year, 5,000 people are injured in electrical fires and nearly 500 die. Almost 150 people suffer electrocution while using consumer products.

Old, faulty wiring is one of the major causes of accidents involving electricity. The Electrical Safety Foundation International, sponsor of National Electrical Safety month, suggests the following:

>Replace old electrical products with up-to-date versions.
>If you must use antique lighting or other such products, take the appliance to a professional for cord replacement.
>If your electric service was installed before 1970, have your home wiring inspected by a licensed electrician. The wiring probably does not meet today’s safety standards.
>Avoid extension cords.
>If you must use an extension cord, make sure it’s rated for the conditions and free of wear and tear.
>Unplug extension cords when not in use.
>Don’t cover extension cords with rugs.
>Don’t staple or nail extension cords to walls.
>Make sure laundry, kitchen and bath areas contain ground-fault circuit interruption receptacles.
>Avoid adapters that allow three or four electrical items to be plugged into one socket.
>Don’t overload surge protectors and power strips.
>Replace surge protectors regularly.
>Unplug power strips when not needed.

While conducting an electrical safety check of your home or office, do an energy check also. Check windows for loose or broken panes. Replace single pane windows with energy efficient windows. Replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones. They’re brighter and burn less electricity. They also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Replace dirty air filters. Vacuum beneath the refrigerator and on the back of the refrigerator. Dirty coils cause a variety of problems, including increased energy consumption and decreased cooling ability.

Check appliances for the Energy-Star certification. When replacing old appliances, replace them with Energy-Star certified models. Again, you’ll save energy and money.

If health and weather permit, open windows and enjoy fresh air instead of running the air conditioner. Check your thermostat. A properly working thermostat can save up to $100 a year on heating and cooling costs.

In honor of Electrical Safety Month, consumers are encouraged to practice safety when using electrical appliances and to perform an electrical safety home inspection.

Make sure electrical appliances such as blow dryers and curling irons aren’t close to water sources. Teach your children electrical safety. Allow them to help you inspect your home for electrical safety and energy efficiency. Practice safe use of electricity. Don’t be a statistic.

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