Watch out for these dangers of electricity at home

Appliances, extension cords and electrical outlets are among the dangers of electricity at home that everyone – especially parents – need to be aware of

Beware - Dangers of Electricity at Home

Our home is supposed to be a safe place to be with our families. It’s a place we go to recharge our batteries after a long workday. But there are dangers of electricity at home that everyone should know about and be on the lookout for.

As an electrocution lawyer for more than 35 years, I’ve seen how everyday household items can cause unimaginable tragedy, resulting in electrocution death or serious electrical shock injury.

Inspired by a February 7, 2019, Realtor.com article, “We’re Shocked! 5 Common Electrocution Dangers in Your Home,” that was sent to me recently, I wanted to share my perspective on the following electrical dangers in our homes:

  • Appliances – It’s true as the article notes that most electrical shock injuries involving appliances occur during repair and when contact is made with water. As such, don’t tinker, unless you know what you’re doing. Plus, make sure the appliance is unplugged if you do undertake a repair. Finally, one of the best protections against water-related injuries is making sure GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) are installed on all outlets. The article observes that, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “large appliances are responsible for 18% of consumer product–related” electrocutions and/or electrical shock injuries.
  • Ladders – Pure and simple, don’t ever even begin to erect a ladder on the outside of your home – whether it’s to retrieve a basketball or frisbee on the roof or to work on a repair project – until you’ve located and avoided all powerlines attached to and/or hanging nearby your house. As the article notes, “8% of consumer product–related”electrocutions or electrical shock injuries “were also related to ladders.”
  • Power tools – As with appliances, using power tools under wet conditions increase the risk of injury. Additional safety steps that power-tool users can take include: Make sure the tools are double-insulated, not damaged and have undamaged power cords. “Power tools account for 9% of consumer product–related” electrocutions and/or electrical shock injuries, according to the article.
  • Electrical outlets – It’s obvious, but it’s worth a reminder: The danger with electrical outlets lies with things that don’t belong in the outlets being poked, stuck and/or jammed into the outlets. As the article wisely observes, I encourage everyone to make sure their outlets are protected by and equipped with tamper-resistant receptacles.
  • Extension cords – The safest approach to extension cords involves remembering these two bits of advice: (1) Never use a faulty cord because they can heat up and catch fire and, most tragically, they can create exposure to electrical charges that can result in electrocution and/or electrical shock injury; and (2) Do not use an extension cord on a long-term basis as a substitute for actual, professionally-installed electrical wiring as it creates a risk of fire and electrical shock injuries, including electrocution.
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