Electrical Safety

The change of seasons is an ideal time to use your cool weather electrical safety checklist to avoid potentially lethal electrical hazards, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, which offers the following safety tips:

Outdoor tools and appliances

  • Safely store warm weather tools like lawn mowers and trimmers. Check cold weather tools, such as leaf and snow blowers, along with their power cords, for unusual wear and tear. Repair or replace worn tools or parts right away.
  • Unplug and safely store battery chargers that won't be in use again until spring.
  • Use only weatherproof electrical devices for outside activities. Protect outdoor electrical devices from moisture. Make sure electrical equipment that has been wet is inspected and reconditioned by a certified repair dealer.
  • Keep dry leaves swept away from outdoor lighting, outlets and power cords.

Holiday decorations and costumes

  • Ensure all holiday lighting and extension cords are in good repair, with no fraying, cracking or cuts, and are certified by an independent testing lab such as UL, CSA or ETL. Follow the rating for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Never connect more than three strands of decorative lights together. Make sure all connections are tight and protected from inclement weather, including the outlet. Unplug the lights from the outlet when not in use.
  • Make sure spotlights used to highlight decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather and are a safe distance from anything flammable, such as shrubs and bushes, dry leaves or fabric decorations.
  • Keep power and extension cords out of pathways.
  • Do not coil power cords or extension cords while in use. Do not tuck them under rugs, carpets or curtains. They may overheat, causing a fire hazard.

Electric blankets

  • Make sure electric blankets are in good repair and certified by an independent testing lab such as UL, CSA or ETL. Power cords should not be frayed, cracked or cut.
  • Do not tuck your electric blanket into mattresses or under children, and don't put anything on top of the blanket while in use, such as comforters or bedspreads.
  • Never allow pets to sleep on the electric blanket.

For these and other related safety tips, visit the ESFI website at www.electrical-safety.org.