We all use many different electronics in our daily lives. However, it's important to know what is safe and what could potentially cause a fire if limited outlet access is available. Prevent an electrical fire by following these simple steps:
- If you must use extension cords, use them temporarily and unplug them when not in use.
- Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord.
- Consider purchasing power strips with an over-current protector, which will shut off power automatically if there is too much current being drawn.
- Use light bulbs with the correct wattage for lamps; if no indication is on the fixture, do not use a bulb with more than 60 watts.
- Never tack or nail an electrical cord to any surface or run cords across traffic paths, under rugs or furniture.
- Keep all electrical appliances and cords away from bedding, curtains, and other flammable material.
- Inspect the extension cord before and after usage to ensure the cord is undamaged. Discard those with breaks, tears, exposed wires, or fraying.
- Throw away any extension cord that feels hot or if there is a softening or melting of the plastic.
- Verify the extension cord wattage capacity is high enough for the item plugged into it.
- If your lights are flickering, electronics shut off while in use, or circuits trip, be sure to assess the situation and take measures to repair or replace them.
- If an electrical outlet becomes so hot you cannot leave your hand on it, there is potential for a fire. Unplug everything from the outlet and notify landlord or dorm officials immediately.
- Use a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet when outside.
- When using outdoor tools and appliances, use extension cords equipped with an inline GFCI and labeled for outdoor use.
Be sure every person living in the home or apartment knows what to do in the case of a fire, including knowledge of proper escape routes and meeting plans.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are electrical safety devices that trip electrical circuits when they detect ground faults or leakage currents. A person who becomes part of a path for leakage current will be severely shocked or electrocuted. These outlets prevent deadly shock by quickly shutting off power to the circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning.
A GFCI should be used in any indoor or outdoor area where water may come into contact with electrical products.
Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are advanced safety devices that can prevent electrical fires before they even have a chance to start by detecting hazardous arcing conditions.