Consumers can help protect themselves from electrical hazards by taking a few minutes to check their homes for unsafe conditions.
- 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.
- Check to see that extension cords are not overloaded, as indicated by the ratings label on the cord and the appliance. Overloaded extension cords can 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.
- To reduce the risks of electrical shock, make sure that GFCI protection is provided for outlets at kitchen counters, in bathrooms, and at outdoor receptacles. Test GFCIs monthly to make sure they are working properly.
- Check the wattage of all bulbs in light fixtures and lamps to make sure they are the correct wattage. Replace bulbs that have a higher wattage than recommended to prevent overheating that could lead to a fire.
- 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.
- If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker, or has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.
- 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 and have a qualified electrician check the wiring as soon as possible.