We can easily take electricity — and electrical safety — for granted. If we had someone building a bonfire in the middle of our living room, we’d definitely see the danger. But since electrical hazards are virtually invisible, we often forget that they exist. An estimated 53,000 electrical fires occur in American homes each year, and many of them could be avoided if people took some basic precautions. Since 1/3 of the electrical fires in homes occur during the winter months, now is the time to make sure your children know how to enjoy electricity safely.
Increasing Outlet Safety
Kids are naturally curious, so sticking items into those inviting slots of electrical outlets seems like a fun idea. However, for the approximately 2,400 children each year who suffer serious electrical shocks or burns from doing so, it’s not fun, at all. The saddest part is that 6-12 of these affected children end up as fatalities every year. The typical child-resistant electrical outlet covers may work for babies, but older children can easily pry them out, and may even consider them a challenge.
Newer devices called Tamper-Resistant Receptacles (or TRRs) like these, are becoming more common.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs) provide a more permanent solution to the problem and can reliably prevent injuries related to electrical outlets. TRRs have spring-loaded cover plates that close the openings unless a standard plug makes contact with both sides of it; otherwise, the cover plates remain closed, keeping foreign objects from being inserted and posing threats.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) currently requires new homes to include TRRs, and older homes can easily be retrofitted with them. (Note that TRRs should be installed only by licensed electricians, and the licensed electricians at D’Amico Electric are always happy to help you with any of your residential or commercial electrical needs.)
Becoming Aware of Electrical Fire Hazards
Electrical outlets aren’t the only potential risks for kids. They also need to be aware of the potential hazards of the following activities:
• Using damaged power cords, extension cords, surge protectors, or electrical devices
• Putting other items on or near light bulbs, space heaters, or other items that get hot
• Overloading outlets or using extension cords improperly
• Placing electrical devices in or near liquids, of any kind
It rarely works well to ask kids to simply accept what you tell them; their curiosity seeks to be quenched. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and Scholastic have joined forces to bring you the Adventures of P.I. Plug, with free downloads available for children in grades 3-5. As a parent, you can recommend the following resources to your child’s teacher or simply print them off for your own home use:
D’Amico Electric Company
Since 1994, the D’Amico Electric Company has been offering electrical contracting services for industrial, commercial and residential buildings. From backup generator installation & ongoing maintenance to landscape/accent wiring and home theater systems, our experienced technicians are here to serve you. With our fleet of 10 trucks, we provide emergency electrical services 24 hours a day. Visit our website at damicoelectriccompany.com.
D’Amico Electric is licensed in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, New York and all of Connecticut. Our founder is Anthony D’Amico, a licensed electrician since 1992, who is a member of the Westchester Licensed Electrical Contractors Association.
When you need electrical help, choose D’Amico. We bring safe & innovative electrical solutions to homes & businesses. For more information on how we can serve you, call D’Amico Electric today at (914) 241-6909.
Image credits: Top © Andrey Stratilatov/Fotolia. Infographic by ESFI.org. Bottom © Kzenon/Fotolia.