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news News Tuesday, June 26, 2018 Tuesday, June 26, 2018 2:16 PM - Tuesday, June 26, 2018 2:16 PM

Be burn aware

Avoiding electrical burns

Be burn aware

In the U.S., we have come a long way in preventing electrical burns and other accidents from happening in the home and at work. This is due to the life-saving regulations and safety devices we have available today. For instance, the use of the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) has saved an estimated 50 percent of electrical accidents in the home since its introduction in the 1970s. Home builders are required to install a GFCI in areas including bathrooms, kitchens, garages, outdoor patios and any other location where exposure to water is possible.

Child-safety conscious groups have also advocated for the use of simple, inexpensive plastic outlet covers to prevent curious tykes from sticking small items (especially fingers and metal objects) into unused outlets. Another recommendation is to secure long electrical cords with tie wraps and place them tightly against walls, behind TVs or in similar areas where children cannot reach and be tempted to place them in their mouths.

Even with these safeguards in place, there is still a risk of accidental electrical shock and/or burn. This is why we must follow these basic safety rules when dealing with electricity:

  • Do not overload electrical outlets. Plugging too many things into one outlet, or even a power strip, can cause everything to “short out” and start a fire.
  • Discard and replace damaged power cords, and repair or replace items with worn, exposed or frayed electrical cords. Interruption of power, or a “short,” may be a sign the item’s cord may be damaged.
  • Never use electrical appliances of any type near water. If dropped in water, such items could cause electrical shock and even death. Please heed all products’ warning labels!
  • Keep metal objects from being poked into outlets or appliances that are plugged in, such as toasters.
  • Do not run electrical wires or cords under rugs or carpeting.
  • During the holidays, be sure all decorative lighting cords are in good condition and secure anything dangling with tie wraps.
  • Always remember – water and electricity do not mix! Be aware of what you are doing anytime you are working or playing around electricity.

If you witness someone experiencing an electrical accident, disconnect the power before touching the victim to avoid injury to yourself. Then, call 911 or seek emergency medical help immediately!