Want to make your family safer? What kind of question is that? Of course you do. Well, there are some simple steps you can take that will do just that.
A study by the nation’s independent insurance agents found that more than 18 million American homeowners never check for electrical hazards. That is, one out of every four of us. Electrical home fires result in 900 deaths per year and over $1.7 billion in property damage. These are startling statistics that should have all of us checking our houses and apartments for possible electrical problems.
The Electrical Safety Foundation recommends some simple steps to take including checking outlets that have loose-fitting plugs that can overheat and lead to fire. Put safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to small children. Walk around the house and touch all outlet plates. If any of them are hot to the touch or discolored, there may be a dangerous heat buildup at the connections. Never remove the third prong, the ground pin, to make it fit into a two-conductor outlet. This could lead to an electrical shock.
What are some other electrical hazards to look for? The Electrical Safety Foundation states that overloaded outlets are a big problem. So unplug some of those appliances. Are you aware that extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis? They are not intended to be permanent household wiring. I wonder how many of us are violating that safety rule.
As for light bulbs, only use the size recommended for the fixture or lamp. Here’s a good one. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely because loose bulbs may overheat.
The study also revealed that slight more than 26 percent of us change the smoke alarm batteries twice a year. But more startling 8 percent never change the batteries. And nearly 5 percent of homeowners don’t have smoke alarms.