Electrical Safety in the Office and at Home
Electrical outlets can become dangerous when overloaded. Though it may be easy to simply plug in another power strip or extension cord when adding equipment, the wiring in some buildings often isn't capable of supporting to many high powered electronics appliances. Older office buildings and homes, in particular, often suffer from lack of electrical outlets. The temptation is to simply add a power strip or plug in an extension cord from across the room. Even in newer office buildings and homes, it can be all too easy to overload a single outlet with power hungry machines such as computers, printers, scanners, and monitors.
So what's the big deal?
When an employee or residents overloads an electrical outlet, that means more current is running through the outlet than it can handle. This causes the outlet to overheat, which may lead to an electrical fire. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), electrical distribution and lighting equipment are involved in more than 24,000 home structure fires per year. These fires result in an average of 320 deaths per year and an estimated $700 Million in property damage per year.
- If an electrical find should occur in your office or home, get safely away from the fire an call the fire department immediately. If you choose to use an extinguisher on the fire, never let the fire get between you and a safe exit, and never use water to extinguish an electrical fire. The risk of electrical shock is far to great. Class C fire extinguishers use a non conductive extinguishing agent and should not cause electrical shock.
To help prevent this and other electrical hazards, refer to the list below (provided by Electrical Safety Foundation International).
- If you use a power strip, use a name brand product from a reputable retailer. Low quality or counterfeit power strips may contain wiring that isn't adequate to carry the load.
- Place power strips where there is plenty of air circulation to disperse the heat.
- Never attempt to plug grounded (three pronged) cords into an ungrounded (two pronge) outlet.
- Do not bind, kink, or knot electrical cords.
- Keep cords close to a wall to prevent the risk of tripping.
And as always should you or someone you know experience a loss due to an electrical fire, call the cleanup team that is faster to any disaster. SERVPRO of Muskegon and Holland/ W. Ottawa Co. is ready to make it like it never even happened. For a full list of services visit our websiteswww.SERVPROmuskegon.com or www.SERVPROhollandwestottawacounty.com