Wake Forest, NC— A world without electricity is hard to imagine. Lights flick on, cell phones ring, television channels flip… it’s all because of electricity. Even though we use it every day, most of us don’t think about it every day. That’s why May is recognized as National Electric Safety Month. This month gives us the opportunity to remind you of some basic precautions to take when dealing with electricity.

Let’s start with some general statistics. Every year, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), electrical failures can cause 43,900 home fires, resulting in 438 deaths, 1,430 injuries and $1.47 billion in property damage. Follow the guidelines below to avoid becoming a statistic.

Our homes are supposed to be a safe haven– a place to sleep, eat and live.

– If small children are in the house, be sure to child proof your home. Place plastic caps on all unused outlets to prevent small fingers and curious hands from getting shocked.

– Periodically check your home for damaged outlets, wires and plugs. These electrical hazards could start a fire if not maintained.

– Make sure outlets outside, in the kitchen and in bathrooms are GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) specific. GFCI outlets constantly monitor electrical current within the circuit, and if the current is altered in anyway, the GFCI quickly interrupts the flow to prevent electrical shock.

– Refrain from using extension cords in your home. If you absolutely have to use them, do not run them under carpet or rugs because you won’t be able to see if the cords incur damage.

– Place lamps on even surfaces so they are less likely to tip over. Tipped lamps are a serious fire hazard.

– Never overload an outlet. This means refraining from using a “splitter.”

Whether you work in an office, at a home or in the field, you are using electricity, and safety precautions should be followed.

– According to ESFI, during the work day, a worker is hurt every 30 minutes so severely from electricity that it requires time off the job. Don’t let that be you.

– If you see an unsafe situation, report it immediately. This keeps you and your coworkers safe.

– Be aware of your surroundings, including the location and conditions of outlets and cords near your workspace.

– Never work with equipment with the assumption that it is unplugged. It is better to be safe than sorry.

– When unplugging something, pull from the base to prevent breaking the cord, which could result in electric shock.

No matter where you are, keep electrical safety in mind. Stay safe this month and every month.

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