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Safety at Home

Safety inside your home

Many people take electricity for granted. Since we cannot see it, we often forget that it is all around us - and it can be dangerous. Remember the following tips to help you stay safe around electricity.

Electrical outlets

  • Never overload an electrical outlet.
  • Never stick anything in an electrical outlet.
  • Replace any two-prong outlets with three-prong outlets and ensure it is properly grounded to minimize shocks.
  • Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) on all bathroom and outdoor outlets.
  • Keep outdoor outlets covered when not in use.

Extension cords

Grasp the plug not the cord when removing it from an outlet

Grasp the plug not the cord when removing it from an outlet

  • Keep electrical cords away from water and heat.
  • Never use a plug when your hands are wet.
  • Always remove a cord from the outlet by grasping the plug, not the cord.
  • Do not run electrical cords under rugs or furniture, through doorways, or anywhere they will get excessive wear.
  • Check cords and plugs before use, and discard them if they are worn, frayed, or damaged.
  • Always use a three-pronged extension cord for outdoor connections. Two-pronged cords are for indoor use only.
  • When using a grounded, three-prong plug, never break off or bypass the third prong.
  • An extension cord is a handy device to temporarily bring power to an area in your home that does not have an outlet. It was never designed to take the place of permanent wiring. Using extension cords as permanent wiring is an indication that your home wiring is not adequate and should be updated by a qualified electrical contractor.

Small and large appliances

  • Never use electrical appliances or any other electrical device near water.
  • Keep vents on electrical appliances clear of lint or debris to prevent overheating.
  • Unplug electrical devices when changing an attachment (such as a light bulb in a lamp) or when you're not using the device.
  • If something gets stuck in an electrical device, always unplug it before removing the object. Never use a metal tool to remove it.
  • To avoid getting a shock, always unplug the toaster before removing stuck toast.
  • Never touch plugged-in appliances when your hands are wet, and ensure that appliances are unplugged before cleaning them.
  • Radios, hairdryers, or any electrical appliance, are hazards near water. Even if your hands are wet or you're standing on a wet floor, you can still experience an electrical shock.
  • If appliances spark, overheat or stall, unplug them and have them checked by a dealer or qualified appliance service technician.
  • Before buying any electrical appliance, make sure that it has a Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and/or Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) certification marks, to ensure it has been properly tested, inspected, and meets the electrical safety requirements for Ontario. The CSA seal ensures electrical safety when the appliance is used properly.
  • Read the accompanying literature thoroughly before using a new appliance for correct operation and care.
  • Some major appliances can draw a lot of electricity. It is important that they are wired by a qualified electrician whose work is inspected by the Electrical Safety Authority.

Fuses and circuit breakers

  • Keep the cover of your fuse box or circuit breaker panel closed to protect your family from injury and to prevent dirt and dust from accumulating inside.
  • If the power is out in your house, but not at the residences around you, it is probably your main switch. Contact an electrical contractor and do not attempt to fix it yourself.
  • When a circuit breaker opens or "trips", the affected circuit will be out of power. If you are aware of the reason forĀ  the breaker tripping, disconnect the problem. To reset the breaker, you must move it to the OFF position and then back to the ON position. This should restore power to the circuit. Avoid overloading circuits.
  • If a fuse blows, turn off all lighting and appliances on the circuit board.
  • Before changing the fuse, unplug appliances on the overloaded circuit and turn the main switch to the OFF position.
  • Never change a fuse in a dark room. Use a flashlight in place of a candle as your source of light.
  • Never change a fuse while standing on a wet floor.
  • Double check fuse ratings to be sure the new fuse is the same as the one you're replacing.
  • Never replace a fuse with a coin or other metal object.
  • Check fuses regularly and tighten them twice a year to prevent them from overheating.
  • Always keep the fuse panel and meter clear of debris and obstruction so it can be accessed quickly by qualified personnel.
  • Do not store any flammable products or liquids within 36" of any meter or fuse panel inside or outside your home.