We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Should I Know About Electrical Safety?

By Tom Glasgow
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Knowing about electrical safety means knowing the hazards and how to prevent them. But that isn't all. The third, and perhaps most important thing to know about electrical safety is what to do when prevention efforts fail and you are faced with an electrical fire or electrocution.

Some people only stop to think about electrical safety around the holidays, but the hazards exist year round. Electrocution is the most serious and life-threatening of these hazards. Just as it is possible to drown in one inch of water, the tiniest amount of current can kill a person under the right conditions. Even light bulbs as small as those used to decorate Christmas trees can provide a jolt of electricity strong enough to stop heartbeat and breathing. If the electrical hazards to your body are not enough, consider this: in addition to the hundreds of deaths they cause every year, the blue smoke and ozone smell of electrical fires destroy dozens of homes and businesses, uprooting families and incurring thousands upon thousands of dollars in property damage.

Smart electrical safety practices begin in the home. There is more to it than just keeping water and other conductors as far away as possible from your electrical equipment and outlets. Be on the lookout for worn or damaged electrical wires, and replace them immediately. Do not modify or remove the third, or ground, prong to make your plugs fit into two-hole electrical outlets. Working on a piece of electrical equipment while it's plugged in is a huge no-no. Never try to drag or lift an electrical device by its power cord, either; the most likely result is that the wire's insulation will thin or shift, leading to an increased risk of electrical fires.

Avoid overtasking your wall outlets and power strips by adding doubling extension cords or adding outlet multipliers on top of outlet multipliers. The enormous amount of current required to support all the things you have plugged in comes with a cost: additional heat. The wires in your wall and extension cord are designed to support a certain amount of current and heat. Once that rated current is exceeded, you'll find that you've left the world of electrical safety and entered the far scarier world of electrical fires.

When you are the first to discover an electrocution or electrical fire, know what to do. Call for help and warn others immediately. Oftentimes, electrocution causes a person's muscles to contract, making it impossible for them to let go of whatever it is that is electrifying them. Don't make the mistake of trying to pull them away with your bare hands, as this will just raise the number of electrocution victims by one. Instead, try to get the power shut off quickly, using a wooden broomstick or some other non-conductor to unplug the malfunctioning device from the wall.

Know where your circuit breakers and fuse boxes are as well, in case it is a part of your home's infrastructure that is doing the electrocuting. If you are unable to deenergize the situation, use a leather belt or wooden broomstick--carefully!--to pull the victim away from the electrical hazard. When the victim is safely clear of the hazards, including electrical fires that may have sprung up, check for a pulse and regular breathing. Administer CPR and make sure qualified medical help is on the way.

It's not enough to think electrical safety occasionally. You cannot make your home electrically safe today and then mark it off your list forever. Electrical hazards will always find a way to zap the person who gets too complacent about electrical safety. To keep your home and family safe from electrical fires and electrocution, you need to keep awareness and prevention at the top of your list, wear-round.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.