If you are ever in doubt about the safety of any electrical appliance, equipment, wiring or installation, contact a registered electrician. A safety check by a qualified tradesman can be an excellent investment for the well-being of your family and the protection of your property.
Make it a habit to unplug small appliances when they are not in use. Always make sure that small appliances like jugs, toasters, and irons are working correctly. There should be no strange noises, overheating or burning odors.
As soon as you have finished using any electrical appliance (and it has had time to cool down), put it away so that children don’t have easy access to it.
You can avoid your clothes dryer from overheating and creating a fire hazard, by regularly cleaning the air filter.
Take particular care with heating appliances. Have them checked regularly to ensure that they are safe. When in use, always make sure that they are stable and unlikely to topple over. Keep them well away from any item that is likely to catch fire.
Electric sockets and switches should be checked regularly. Check to see if they are working properly and to see if they are damaged. Faceplates should feel cool when touched and should not be cracked or broken.
Plugs should fit securely into sockets. Loose plugs are dangerous.
Don’t overload electrical sockets with too many appliances. Ensure that there is never more than one heater plugged into an electrical outlet.
If you have toddlers or young children, the use of safety plugs (caps) is highly recommended. These are readily available from nursery stores, hardware shops, electrical stores, and many supermarkets.
Are the bulbs in your light fittings the correct wattage? Many light fittings have a maximum wattage rating, so it always pays to check that you’re not exceeding the maximum recommended wattage.
Are your electric cords in a good, safe condition? If the outer covering is cracking or fraying, replace the cords immediately. When checking your cords, unplug them first and ensure that no internal wires are visible.
Minimize fire risk by not running cords near sharp cornered furniture or through doorways. Take care to avoid running cords in areas where there is a likelihood of them being tripped on.
Never run electric cords beneath mats or rugs. If they get damaged, they quickly become a very real fire hazard.
Electric cords should be run along a wall rather than across a room. Staples and nails should never be used to secure electric cords. They can easily damage the cords and make them unsafe. Use tape or proper cable clips to safely secure electric cords. Make sure that furniture is not standing on electric cords as the cords can become damaged and unsafe very quickly.
Whenever possible, use cordless electric jugs. When a cord is in use, keep it short and out of the reach of children.
When you’re storing your electric blankets, make sure that they are stored flat, without sharp folds. Sharp folds can damage the internal wiring. Check for any scorch marks and to ensure that there are no exposed wires. Take them to an electrical appliance service shop to have them safety checked.
Never have electric blankets in use on beds where young children may be going to sleep. Bedwetting can easily result in electrocution.
Have a licensed electrician check that your fuses or circuit breakers are correctly rated for the circuits in your home.
Never use electrical equipment in wet conditions. Always make sure that you use electrical equipment that is suitable for the environment you are working in. As an example, if conditions are damp, use a cordless drill.
Should an electrical fire occur, it’s important that you have multi-purpose fire extinguishers in your home AND that your family members know how to use them properly and safely.
Regular checks of the electrical appliances, equipment, and cords in your home is time well spent. Keep your family safe and protect your property by consulting a registered electrician.