Electrical Safety Checklist & Tips

FYI: Electricity Takes the Easiest Path to the Ground!

If you touch electricity (or something touching the electricity) and the ground at the same time, you become a path. Electricity will flow through you. You could be seriously or fatally injured, so be aware, and follow your safety checklist.

Safety Checklist

If someone has been shocked or burned by electricity:

  1. Tell an adult to pull the plug from the outlet or turn off the power at the fuse box or circuit breaker.
  2. Call for help (usually 911). Tell them it is an electrical accident.
  3. When the victim is not in contact with the source of electricity, and you’re sure that there is no danger, tell an adult to give first aid:
    • If the victim is not breathing, give CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
    • Loosen the victim’s clothing. Keep the victim warm and lying down until help arrives
    • Don’t touch burns, break blisters, or remove burned clothing.

You cannot tell if there are electrical burns inside the body, so be sure the person is taken to a doctor.

More Electrical Safety Tips

  • Understand your home’s electrical system. Make a map showing which fuse or circuit breaker controls each switch, light or outlet. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Consider purchasing surge protectors with cable and phone jacks to provide protection to your phone, computer modem and television. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Before installing a portable air conditioner, make sure that the electrical circuit and the outlet are able to handle the load. Large window A/C units should have their own separate electrical circuit so the system is not overloaded. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Check ceiling fans regularly for a wobble, which will wear out the motor over time. To fix the wobble, turn off power to the ceiling fan, and tighten the screws. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Use correct bulb wattage in fixtures. Light bulbs with too high of a wattage for the light fixture can overheat the fixture and start a fire. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Heavy reliance on power strips is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have additional outlets installed by a qualified, licensed electrician. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Do not place extension cords in high traffic areas, under carpets, or across walkways, where they pose a potential tripping hazard. Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Make sure entertainment centers and computer equipment have plenty of space around them for ventilation. Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Assume that all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages. Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated. Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • If an overhead power line falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services. Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles. Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • If outlets or switches feel warm and frequent problems occur with blowing fuses, tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician. Source: National Fire Protection Association
  • Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage. Source: National Fire Protection Association
  • For outdoor equipment, use lighting and power tools that have the label of an independent test laboratory and make sure they are made for outdoor use. Source: National Fire Protection Association
  • When working outside, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder. Keep the ladder at least 10 feet away from power lines. Never touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed wire. Power lines may be live, stay a safe distance away. Source: National Fire Protection Association
  • When you’re cooking in the kitchen, use a timer to remind yourself to check on food that is simmering or in the oven, and always double check to make sure that oven burners and appliances are turned off when you’re done. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Make sure that smoke detectors are installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home. Smoke detectors should be tested every month to ensure they are working properly. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • We hope you don’t, but if you find yourself near a downed power line, the proper way to move away from it is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Talk to your children about the importance of electrical safety. Remind them that they should never touch an outlet and should always ask an adult for help when plugging or removing cords from an outlet. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Never use a frayed or damaged extension cord. Damaged cords may have exposed wires that can be a fire and shock hazard. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
  • Recurring tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses can signify a serious electrical problem. Contact a licensed electrician immediately. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International