May is National Electrical Safety Month, and SECO Energy encourages members to commit to safety. Safety is SECO’s most important core value.
Electrical safety applies to everyone who uses electricity. Electric energy can burn and kill. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI), over 51,000 American homes are damaged or destroyed by fires caused by electrical failures each year.
Homeowners should learn the basics about the electrical system in their homes and how to prevent electrical fires. Homes that are more than 20 years old may have outdated wiring that can lead to an electrical fire. Signs of outdated wiring include flickering lights, tripped breakers and a burning smell. The circuits may be overloaded. If the home’s wiring is outdated, the electrical outlets are as well. Outlets that are damaged, loose or warm to the touch need to be repaired or replaced.
Home wiring is a job best tackled by a professional. Contact a reputable electrician who is licensed, insured and adheres to local code requirements. Electricians can also assist in adding extra electrical outlets that will avoid circuit overload.
Adults over 65 are at greatest risk of suffering injury or death from a home fire. Young children with their natural curiosity are also vulnerable.
Electrical safety extends outside the home. Never touch utility equipment such as underground transformers or overhead power lines. Always consider power lines to be energized and dangerous. After a storm be especially cautious for downed wires. Stay away from downed lines and call 911 to report immediately. Vehicle crashes involving power poles can result in energized lines near the accident. Remain in the vehicle if it is safe to do so.
Teach children electrical safety as well. Never allow children to play on or near electrical equipment and to never enter a substation. Children should not climb trees near energized lines. Keep toys such as planes and kites away from overhead lines.