Consumers should check for problems with their home electrical systems, and be ever vigilant for electrical hazards around the home and the workplace, like cracked or fraying cords, overheating cords and wall plates, and the presence of overhead and buried power lines when working outdoors. Check outlets and circuits to be sure they aren't overloaded. Make sure to use only the proper wattage light bulbs in light fixtures and lamps. Use extension cords only on a temporary basis, and be sure they are properly rated for their intended use. And always follow appropriate safety precautions and manufacturer's instructions on all electrical items.
Consumers should also remember to test their smoke alarms and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) monthly. Replace smoke detector batteries twice a year. Make sure GFCI protection covers all circuits that come near water sources, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoors, and consider it for whole house coverage. Consider also having arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) installed in your home's electrical panel, particularly for older homes.
Consumers can use ESFI's In Home Electrical Safety Check and Outdoor Electrical Safety Check booklets to conduct an electrical safety audit of their homes. Visit The Electrical Safety Foundation International website for all these and other electrical safety tips.