Electricity in the home is so commonplace that it's easy to forget how dangerous it can be. According to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, an electrical shock can knock you unconscious, cause a serious burn, or even stop your heartbeat.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk.
- Install safety plugs in outlets that young children can reach.
- Never plug in anything with a frayed or otherwise damaged power cord.
- Never use a plugged-in computer, hair dryer, or other electrically-powered item near a filled sink or bathtub. This includes phones with power cords.
- Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or while standing in water. (Water is a remarkably efficient conductor of electricity.)
- Always turn off the appropriate breaker before doing any electrical work, such as installing a new light fixture.
- When replacing a broken light bulb, turn off the breaker first. Although the glass is broken, the filament may still be conducting electricity.
- Finally, unless you're an expert or an electrician, never do any major electrical work on your own. Hire a professional.