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It Only Takes One Spark: Electrical Safety

Stay safe around household electricty with these tips (also available on this printer-friendly fact sheet).

  • Electrical work should only be done by a qualified electrician.
  • Your home electrical system should be inspected by a qualified professional when buying, selling or renovating a home.
  • Only purchase appliances and electronics that have a label of a recognized testing laboratory.

Outlets

  • Replace wall outlets if plugs do not fit snugly or are too loose.
  • Replace any missing wall plates to prevent shock.
  • Ensure that all outlets that are not in use have child safety covers.
  • Never remove a ground pin (third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit into a two-conductor outlet.
  • Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances - plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.

Cords

  • Ensure cords are not frayed or cracked – replace or repair any damaged cords.
  • Never place cords under carpets, rugs or furniture.
  • Do not overload extension cords – extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis.

Electrical Appliances

  • Place lamps on a level surface, away from combustibles. Use light bulbs that match the lamp's recommended wattage.
  • Major appliance, small appliances and air conditioning units should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Unplug small appliances when not in use.

Circuits and Fuses

  • Always replace blown fuses with ones of the proper rating.
  • Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen, bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas to reduce the risk of shock.
  • Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home. They will automatically shut off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs.

Water and electricity don't mix...

  • Do not leave appliances plugged in that may come in contact with water. If plugged-in appliances fall into the water, never reach in to pull it out even if it is turned off.

Call a qualified electrician if...

  • You feel a tingling feeling when you touch an electronic.
  • Discoloured or warm outlets or switches.
  • A burning smell or rubbery odor coming from an appliance.
  • Flickering lights.
  • Sparks from a wall outlet.
  • Cracked or broken wall outlets.

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