Thanksgiving: The Safe Way

We see it every year – family comes to town, cousins are rooming together and there are 15 family members under one roof and we are all grateful for each other… But in no way could we be grateful for an electrical housefire. To avoid some holiday disasters, Swartz Electric has some tips to keep you and your family safe over Thanksgiving weekend.

1. Replace or repair damaged power cords
Exposed wiring is a danger that cannot go overlooked, the NFPA wrote. If you see the protective coating on a wire is stripped away, be sure to replace it or cover it with electrical tape as soon as possible.

2. Avoid extension cords as much as possible
Running extension cords through the house can trip up residents; this can cause injury and damage to the wire or outlet if it causes the cord to be ripped out of the wall. If you find yourself using extension cords very often, consider having an electrician install new outlets throughout your home.

3. Never run cords under carpets, rugs, doors, or windows
Running cords throughout your house can cause tripping hazards as well as inviting electrical accidents when they are consistently out in the open. And a cord under a rug or carpet is a fire hazard. If you find you are using extension cords regularly, consult your electrician about adding new outlets around your home within reach of the things you need to plug in.

4. Be sure that any electrical decorations and extension cords were made to be useable outdoors.
Keep all light strings and extension cord connections away from water and snow, if not – use waterproof electrical tape to seal connections from snow and water. When decorating outdoors, you should use fiberglass or wooden ladders rather than metal ladders. You should plug outdoor decorations and electric lights into circuits protected by circuit interrupters. You should invest in portable outdoor GFCIs if the circuits are not GFCI protected.

5. Turn off, unplug, and extinguish everything when going to sleep or leaving the house.
Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11pm and 7am (NFPA). Appliances excluded, unplug, or turn off all electronics to prevent electrical fires. Crockpots are still vulnerable to outlet fires.

6. Do not overload your outlets
Every outlet in your home is designed to deliver a certain amount of electricity; by plugging too many devices into it at once, you could cause a small explosion or a fire. If you have a lot of things to plug in, use a power strip (an energy saving one of course!) that can safely accommodate your needs.

7. Unplug appliances when not in use
Not only will unplugging appliances prevent you from using unnecessary energy while on vacation, it could also help protect your appliances from surges and other electrical mishaps

8. Check decorations for certification label.
Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.

9. Do not use water to extinguish an electrical fire.
Water conducts electricity, and you could get an electric shock. Use an extinguisher that is approved for use on electric fires.

10. Call Swartz Electric.
If your lights are flickering, your circuits are tripped frequently, you see sparks or smell burning or rubbery odors, it is time to call a trained electrician. These warnings signal a larger electrical problem that needs to be addressed at the source quickly rather than waiting it out or leaning on a temporary solution.