Never overload your outlets with cords. Especially important is to not purchase the octopus outlets that allow you to plug in numerous appliances at one receptacle. If your TV picture shrinks or flickers when major appliances go on, or if fuses or circuit breakers blow frequently, you should have your circuits and wiring checked by a licensed Electrician immediately.
Never remove the third (round) prong from a grounded three-prong plug to make it fit into a two-prong outlet. This could cause electrical shock. When you are using a plug with three prongs, the rounded third prong connects inside the outlet with a "ground wire" which usually connects to a water pipe or a ground rod at the service panel area. As a result, in a short circuit, electricity should flow to the ground instead of through you. Removing this prong is very dangerous and could cause the ground fault to flow through your body. Not a good situation.
If you must utilize a two prong outlet (ungrounded) with a three prong plug, I highly recommend that you have an electrician upgrade the outlet with a GFCI receptacle. This only protects you... your outlet is still ungrounded.
Appliances that generate heat (televisions and computer monitors), should be given several inches of clearance for good circulation of air. Never drape clothes, toys or other items over these warm appliances.
Only use electrical appliances and equipment approved by Underwriters Laboratories (look for the UL listing on the label), or other recognized testing laboratories.
Extension cords should only be used only as a temporary fix only. Do not use them as a substitute for household wiring to power permanent fixtures. And don't run these cords under carpets, rugs or furniture; when cords are placed in an area where they can be stepped on frequently, the wires may separate and could lead to a short circuit or even a fire.
Never unplug or carry anything by its cord.
Make it a habit to unplug small appliances when they're not in use, and push them to the back of your counters. And make sure you use all three prongs of your appliance plugs, and replace worn or frayed cords immediately. Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn't fit, and never nail or tack cords to walls or floors.
Teach your kids not to poke things into electrical outlets, toasters, or any other appliances, whether they're on or off. Use plug covers or inserts in all your outlets if smaller children are present.
Keep electrical cords away from kids' reach. Teach them that electricity and water never mix. Keep all radios, hair dryers and other appliances secured or out of bathrooms and away from water sources.
Keep all electrical appliances (like hair curlers or dryers) away from water-filled tubs and sinks.
Teach your children to recognize "Danger" signs and not to climb in trees if power lines pass through or near them. They should also know that pad-mounted transformers (those metal cabinets on concrete pads) are not safe places to play around.
If you have overhead electrical service, watch out for the drop line from the utility pole to your house. Don't hit it with implements or let other wires touch it. Be particularly careful when you are unloading ladders and long materials from your car, truck or garage.
Overhead power lines might look insulated. They aren't. The dark color may be weather protection or oxidation... Not insulation. And even an insulated line may have flaws in the insulation, and contact could mean serious injury. Keep away from all overhead power lines! If you must work near power lines, contact the utility company involved before you start any work. Ask that safety measures be taken, or that the lines de-energized.
Before doing any digging 12 inches or deeper, remember to call Massachusetts Dig safe (at 1-888-DIGSAFE (344-7233) to determine the location of any utility lines on your property. Another option would be to call 811 or go to www.call811.com.
Outdoor electrical outlets should have weatherproof covers protecting them. When using portable saws, trimmers, or drills, keep the cord behind you where it can't be cut accidently. Always use outlets with GFCIs to protect against serious shock.
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