Each year the Carlsbad Fire Department responds to a significant number of fires and medical emergencies caused by electrical malfunction. Every year in the United States, more than 1,000 people are killed and thousands more injured in electrical fire or shock incidents. It is important to know how to use electrical appliances safely and how to recognize electrical hazards.
- Only licensed electricians are permitted to install electrical systems.
- Use a licensed electrician whose work complies with the electrical code.
- Use electrical appliance approved by a safety-testing laboratory.
- Do not touch an electrical appliance, wall switch or electrical cord while wet
- To prevent overheating, use an extension cord designed to carry the intended load.
- Do not use an extension cord in place of permanent wiring.
- Keep electrical cords away from infants and toddlers.
- Use tamper-proof inserts on wall outlets to prevent children from sticking objects into the outlets.
- Do not run electrical cords around objects or hang on a nail.
- Inspect electrical cords periodically for worn insulation and overall condition.
The potential for electrical shock or fire from an electrical appliance is very real, especially when safety recommendations are not followed.
- Buy appliances with the label of a recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory or Factory Mutual.
- Keep space heaters, stoves, irons and other heat-producing appliances away from furniture, curtains, bedding or towels.
- Give televisions, stereos and computers plenty of air-space so they won't overheat.
- Never use an appliance with a damaged cord.
- Use three-pronged electrical devices in three-pronged outlets.
- Never cut off or bend the grounding pin of the plug.
- Do not modify a polarized plug (with one side wider than the other).
- Keep electrical cords out of the path of traffic.
- An electrical cord should never be wrapped around an appliance until the appliance has cooled.
- If an electrical appliance drops into water, do not touch it until the plug has been removed from the electrical socket.
- Never put a kitchen knife or other metal object in a toaster unless unplugged and cooled.
- Install television and radio antennas where they cannot fall across power lines.
- Use caution when operating a tree-pruning device or using a metal ladder around power lines.
- Inspect appliances regularly to make sure they operate properly.
- If appliance smells funny, makes unusual sounds or the cord feels warm to the touch, repair or replace the unit. Do not repair appliances unless qualified.
- Keep appliances in a cool, dry place to prevent rusting.
When an electrical emergency occurs, there are several survival actions that can be taken.
- Know how to trip the main circuit breaker at the electrical panel to turn off all power to the house.
- If an appliance smells funny or operates improperly, pull the plug if it can be done safely.
- If arcing, burning or smoking from an appliance occurs, turn off the power at the circuit breaker.
- Winds accompanying thunderstorms may knock down power lines or utility poles. Keep people away from the area, and call the fire department.
- If power lines come in contact with a vehicle, do not touch it or the vehicle. If people are inside, tell them to stay inside. If they try to exit, they may complete a grounded electrical circuit and be instantly killed. They must stay inside until the power is shut off by the utility company.
If a serious electrical malfunction occurs at home, school or workplace, it is the same as a fire. Notify others, activate the fire alarm and exit promptly.