Don’t Be Shocked!

May is National Electric Safety Month

Electrical shock causes about 1,000 fatalities and more than 30,000 nonfatal incidents each year in the U.S.

There are about 1,000 deaths per year in the United States as a result of electrical shock. Of these, approximately 400 are due to high-voltage electrical injuries, while lightning causes 50 to 300 fatalities annually. There are also at least 30,000 shock incidents per year that are nonfatal.

Take a look at the tips below to help you remain safe.

Extension Cord Safety Tips

  • Never use extension cords as a long-term extension of your household’s electrical system. Continuous use can cause an extension cord to deteriorate and can result in a potentially dangerous electric shock or fire hazard.
  • Never plug a space heater into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Never plug 2 extension cords together. Doing so can result in overloaded circuits, short circuits, and damaged cords, which could lead to fires or electric shocks. Instead of plugging extension cords together, consider having additional outlets installed where needed.
  • Do not run cords through walls, doorways, ceilings, or under rugs or carpets. If a cord is covered, heat cannot escape and can create a fire hazard.
  • Make sure your extension cord or power strip is properly rated for the device that will be plugged in and is marked for either indoor or outdoor use.
  • Regularly inspect electrical cords and extension cords for damage.

Indoor Safety Tips

  • Reduce your electrical load by using energy-efficient appliances and lighting.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use.
  • Use an outlet cover or plastic outlet caps to keep young children safe around outlets.
  • Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Test monthly, change batteries yearly, and replace the unit every 10 years.

Outdoor Safety Tips

  • Know what’s below before you dig. Dial 811 to have a representative from your local electric or natural gas company mark the location of underground lines for free.
  • Never touch downed power lines.
  • Watch for overhead power lines every time you use a ladder, work on roofs and trees, or carry long tools or loads. Keep kites, model airplanes, and metallic balloons away from power lines.
  • Do not overload outdoor electrical and/or extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow.

For more electrical safety resources, visit the Electric Safety Foundation.