Your Place: Getting charged up about electrical safety

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

I would like to share some tips with you on electrical safety courtesy of PSE&G. (Remember, these apply to life year-round.)

—Never handle electric appliances with wet hands, or use them in damp conditions unless they are rated for such use.

—Secure electric sockets around toddlers and babies. All outlets within reach should be protected with plastic closures that fit snugly and cannot be removed easily.

—Eliminate defective or worn electric wires. Cords should not be loose or frayed, and should have a grounding prong intact if so equipped.

—Never pour water on an electrical fire. You must use a fire extinguisher that is rated Class C for use on them.

—Leave wiring to the pros. Employ the services of a licensed professional who can do the job safely and correctly.

—Watch for overheating bulbs and lights. Never exceed the maximum wattage specified. Consider replacing bulbs with lower-wattage bulbs.

—When doing work on electrical equipment, ensure that all sources of power to the appliance are turned off.

—When working on or near outlets or overhead lights, or cutting into drywall, be sure to shut off the correct circuit breaker. A simple voltage tester can be purchased for home use at a local electrical-supply store.

—Don’t misuse extension cords, and never use them as permanent substitutes for additional outlets.

—Never cover cords and wires. They radiate heat, and a fire could result.

—Protect electric outlets close to sources of water. Those in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and garages should be ground-fault circuit-interrupter outlets to reduce the chance of electric shock. GFCI outlets are required around pools and spas.

—Keep ladders at least 10 feet from power lines.

—Never touch a downed power line or go near one. Call your utility to report it at once.