It’s May, and East-Central Iowa REC is celebrating National Electrical Safety Month. While safety for our members is top priority year-round, Electrical Safety Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of safety excellence.
This year, we’re focusing on electrical safety in the home. Electricity is the cause of over 140,000 fires each year, resulting in more than 500 deaths, 4,000 injuries, and 1.6 billion in property damage, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). Use these helpful tips from ESFI to safeguard your home.
IN THE KITCHEN
- Vacuum refrigerator coils every three months to eliminate dirt buildup that can reduce efficiency and create fire hazards.
- Ensure all countertop appliances are located away from the sink.
- All appliance cords should be placed away from hot surfaces; cords can be damaged by excess heat.
- The top and the area above the cooking range should be free of combustibles, such as potholders and plastic utensils.
LIGHT THE WAY TO SAFETY
- The wattage of the bulbs you use in your home should match the wattage indicated on the light fixture. Overheated fixtures can lead to a fire.
- Check lamp cords to make sure they are in good condition, not damaged or cracked. Take any item with a damaged power cord to an authorized repair center.
- Extension cords should not be used to provide power on a long-term or permanent basis. Have additional receptacles installed by a professional to provide power where needed.
- Locate smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area.
- Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries yearly. Replace smoke alarms at least every 10 years.
- Involve small children in planning an emergency fire escape route—they are more likely to remember the plan.