Tips for Staying Safe

Indoor Electrical Safety

Small appliances


Avoid Breaker Panel Dangers

Check your fuse box or breaker panel.  If an electrical inspection has been conducted, there should be a label on the panel with a date and initials of the inspector.  If you can't find a label, don't remove the service-panel cover to look for one – that is a job for a qualified electrician.  If you haven't had an inspection in more than ten years, or if you've installed any temporary wiring or added a lot of additional electric load, you should contact a licensed electrician or safety inspector to give your home a check-up.  When working on your control box, keep these tips in mind:

Electric Cords

Kitchen Hazards

Tips for Using Your Microwave Oven

Source: Leviton Institute

Portable Generator Safety

Electrical Safety Foundation International recommends following these portable electric generator safety precautions to avoid dangerous situations.

What the UL Label Means to You

What is Underwriters Laboratory?

When shopping for items such as light switches, receptacles, dimmers or surge protectors, the Leviton Institute advises you to look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratory Inc.) label. Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is an independent, not-for-profit product safety testing and certification organization. The UL label indicates that an electrical product satisfies the safety requirements of Underwriters Laboratories, one of the nation's oldest and most trusted product testing organizations.

What does the UL Label Mean?

This label is also your assurance that the electrical products you purchase are tested and retested often by their manufacturers to comply with UL safety standards. UL inspectors frequently visit facilities that manufacture electrical components. Typically, the inspectors will walk into a plant unannounced and conduct random checks of products coming off the assembly line.

Where to Find the Label on Household Products ?

If you're unsure of what the UL label looks like, check your toaster or hair dryer. You'll see the encircled letters “UL” somewhere on the device. According to UL, you should make sure its label appears on every electrical product, fire extinguisher and fuel-burning appliance in your home. UL also tests heating, air conditioning and refrigeration products to make sure they won't pose a hazard to your health and safety.

Do Manufacturers Test their Own Products for Safety?

Even though UL has developed more than 800 different safety standards, product manufacturers also subject their products to rigorous safety and durability checks before they introduce them to the marketplace. Often a manufacturer's standard may exceed UL's requirements and those of other industry associations. For these companies the safety of their products is serious business, so they typically design and manufacture products that exceed industry standards. The Leviton Test Laboratory in Little Neck, New York, for example, continually tests new products to ensure that they meet the highest safety standards. In testing a light switch, the switch is turned on and off 30,000 times in succession. It would take nearly a lifetime to duplicate this frequency in a typical home. In another test, an electrical plug is inserted and withdrawn from a receptacle 200 times in rapid succession. The resulting electrical arc places more stress on the receptacle than it would be subjected to in a typical home environment.

Classifying Electrical Devices

Electrical devices fall into one of five specification categories that reflect the environment in which they will be used: Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Federal Specification and Hospital Grade. Homeowners and new homebuyers need not look beyond Residential grade to find a safe, high-quality product, advises the Leviton Institute. As long as a product carries the UL listing, consumers can be assured that it has undergone a rigorous regimen of testing and when used properly, will function effectively throughout its service life.

Source: Leviton Institute

Outdoor Electrical Safety




Winter Safety Tips

from the Electrical Safety Foundation International

To help ensure a safe and warm heating season, many experts recommend an annual inspection and tune-up of home heating systems before temperatures begin to drop.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International offers the following tips:

Holiday Season Lights

Space Heaters

from Federated Staff

When the cold winds of winter start to blow, many people turn to space heaters as a way of adding extra heat to a room. While they are a source of supplemental heat, if not used safely, they can present a safety hazard.

When purchasing a space heater, always choose a model with a guard in front of the heating device. This is an important safety feature as it keeps people from touching the hot surface. Always check that the space heater has been tested at an accredited laboratory to ensure it meets proper safety standards. Also consider the size of the space you want to heat when selecting a space heater. If the wrong size is purchased it can waste energy.

Carefully read the manufacturer's safety and operating information. Make sure everyone that will be using the space heater has read the directions as well. And, make sure the safety instructions are kept in a handy place where they can be referred to later.

It is important to remember to always turn off the space heater when not in use. When deciding where to place the space heater, make sure it is at least three feet from any flammable objects or chemicals. Also make sure nothing nearby can fall into the space heater and catch on fire. Place the space heater on a level, hard surface, never on carpet. This will keep it from tipping over and from starting a fire. In case the space heater should tip over, it is important to choose a model with a switch that will shut off the heater until it is turned upright again.

Pay attention when plugging in the heater as well. Make sure you are not plugging it in near places that may accumulate moisture. If a space heater gets wet it can become a shock hazard. Avoid using extension cords if possible with space heaters. Check that the plug fits into the outlet securely, a loose plug may overheat. If the plug feels warm, disconnect it immediately.

Space heaters are a way of driving the chill out of drafty rooms on cold winter days. However, like other electric appliances, they must be kept in good condition and used carefully to keep your family and home safety.

Snow Plow Safety