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Electrical safety tips for home and work

Electricity enhances our lives in many ways, but it can also present risks. Knowing how to use lighting, appliances and plug-in electronics safely can prevent accidents and save lives.

On this page:

    Cords and outlets

    These safety recommendations can help keep you safe at home and at work:

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    • Don’t overload outlets or surge protectors by plugging in too many cords.
    • Use certified extension cords like those approved by Underwriters Laboratories. (Look for “UL listed” on certified cords).
    • Don’t drape electrical cords or wires over radiators, pipes or metal objects.
    • Never cut off the third prong of a three-pronged plug. This prong grounds appliances for safe use.
    • Replace old cords and outlet covers.
    • Only use two-prong extension cords indoors. Three-pronged (grounded) cords are safe for indoor and outdoor use.
    • Never run an extension cord under rugs or carpeting or in high-traffic areas.
    • Replace cords that show signs of fraying or wear, especially at the plug or connection point.
    • Don’t twist, bind or crush cords.
    • Before plugging in an appliance, tool or electronic device, make sure the switch is off.
    • When unplugging something, be sure to pull the plug – not the cord.
    • Keep children safe by installing socket guards on outlets that aren’t being used.
    • Follow all wattage ratings for cords. The rating on the cord should be sufficient for the wattage of the item being plugged in. If an item has no wattage rating, multiply the number of amps by 125.
    • Keep water away from cords and electrical outlets at all times.
    • Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets should be installed near sources of water such as bathrooms, kitchens and garages.

    Fuses and circuit breakers

    熔断器和断路器是重要的安全装置,可以在出现电涌或停电时保护电器和电路免受损坏。Here are some tips for managing fuses and circuit breakers safely:

    • 确保你知道主断路器(电气开关)在哪里,以及如何打开和关闭它。
    • Make sure that circuit breakers are properly labeled.
    • If a circuit breaker or fuse blows, find out the cause to prevent it from happening again.
    • Get familiar with the proper fuse ratings for your electrical circuits.
    • Don’t overload circuits with too many plugs.


    Follow these best practices for appliances, large and small:

    • Don’t leave appliances plugged in near sinks or tubs.
    • Always unplug hair dryers, electric shavers and personal care devices when children are in the bathroom.
    • 如果器具掉进水池或浴缸,应立即拔掉插头。当电子设备还插着插头的时候,千万不要把它从水里拽出来。即使一个设备被关闭,如果插入电源,电流也会通过它。
    • Check that the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approval applies to the entire appliance, not just the plug or cord.
    • Never use an extension cord with a high-wattage appliance, such as an air conditioner, portable electric heater or iron.
    • Unplug small electronics and appliances when you aren’t using them. This will keep devices from turning on or short circuiting if there’s a voltage surge.

    Holiday lighting

    Shine safely this holiday season by following these guidelines:

    • Check each set of lights for broken or cracked sockets, loose connections and frayed or bare wire. Throw any damaged cords away.
    • Make sure that lights are unplugged while you adjust them on a house or a tree.
    • Don’t let bulbs rest on tree limbs or branches. Instead, clip or tie them in place.
    • Unplug all holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
    • Only buy artificial trees that are labeled “flame resistant.”
    • 使用LED节日灯。它们很节能,而且摸起来也不烫。
    • Watch children around holiday lights and decorations. Small pieces can be swallowed.
    • Teach kids about electrical safety with ourelectrical safety coloring book.