Time to learn shocking facts during Electricity Safety Month

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A major cause of home fires is electricity. We constantly demand to use more energy, yet many of us live in homes with outdated electrical systems that cannot handle today’s devices and appliances.

But fire isn’t the only risk. Thousands of Americans, especially children, die or are seriously injured by accidental electrocutions in their own homes each year.

Whether you own the home you live in or own rental properties, here are some ways to protect your investment from accidental electrical fire. Details on these ideas are at the Electrical Safety Foundation International website.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) shut off electrical flow when they sense a problem.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) prevent arc-induced fires that can occur from wires that are overloaded or frayed or wires that are punctured by a nail or screw, perhaps behind a wall.

Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRR) look the same as regular outlets, but behind the cover plate is a spring-loaded device. When the prongs of an electric plug are correctly inserted, the electricity flows through the plug and into the appliance. However, if a single object, such as a toy or small finger is inserted into just one slot, the cover plate will not allow electricity to flow.

A common cause of electrical system fires is do-it-yourself (DIY) remodeling. Electrical wiring is not a project to tackle after watching a few videos. Installing wiring yourself increases the risk of electrical shock during the installation process and increases the risk of fire in the future due to a mistake.

Learn more about sensible tips for working with and around electrical wiring at the Electrical Safety Foundation International website.

Don’t leave it to luck to keep you, your family and your property safe. Practice safety with electricity.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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