Electric Safety

More than 700 people die in the U.S. each year in residential electrical fires, and there are an estimated 550 electrocution deaths nationwide. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), many of these accidents could have been prevented by taking a few electrical safety precautions.   

Remember the four R's of electrical safety:

  • RESPECT the power of electricity.
  • REPLACE worn or frayed electrical cords.
  • READ and follow the operating instructions, which come with every electrical product.
  • RELOCATE appliance cords so that people don't walk on them and children can't pull on them.

Plug into electrical safety  
  • Plugging in cordOutlets - avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances or plugs. Check for outlets with loose-fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire. Replace missing or broken wall plates, and make sure safety covers are on all unused outlets accessible to children.
  • Plugs - while they should fit securely, plugs should never be forced into an outlet.
  • Cords - make sure cords do not overheat, and examine them for signs of wear and tear. Make sure they are not cracked or frayed.  Do not put cords underneath carpet or rugs.  Do not allow pets to chew on or children to play with cords.
  • Extension cords - make sure cords do not overheat and do not overload them.
  • Appliances - keep electrical appliances away from damp and hot surfaces. If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker-or if it has emitted sparks, unplug it and have it inspected for repairs or replacements by a licensed maintenance professional.
  • Electrical equipment - make sure you check for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs and connectors. Use of a high quality surge protector may help protect your electronic equipment.
  • Light bulbs - for all lightening fixtures, follow recommended wattage usage, do not exceed the rated amount.  Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.
  • Fuses and circuit breakers - use the correct current rating for the circuit, and always replace a fuse with the correct-size fuse.  If you are unsure of the rating or have additional questions, contact an qualified electrician.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI's) - offer greater personal protection where water and electricity are in the same proximity.  Use them in any area where water and electricity could come into contact. They constantly monitor electricity flowing in the circuit to detect a change of current. Test all GFCI's regularly.

Water and electricity don't mix
  • Electricity flows easily through water: Stay safe in the bathroom, kitchen, and outdoors by keeping electricity and water far apart. It can be a matter of life or death. 
  • Electricity can flow through you more easily if you are standing in water or on a damp floor. Never use electrical appliances in wet conditions.   
  • Power is still present even when an appliance is off. If an appliance falls in water, shut-off the fuse before you unplug it or remove it from the water - do not grab it.  
  • Do not immerse appliances in water to clean them. Unplug portable appliances before cleaning with a damp cloth.  
  • Don't touch faucets or stand on a damp floor while using an appliance or electrical switch. 
  • Keep appliances away from sinks or tubs where they can accidentally fall in. Cords should never trail in water.   
  • Water and electricity are necessary in running our household. Make the best of both by keeping them apart. 
  • Teach children how to be safe around electricity.   


For additions or repairs to your property such as building additions, remodeling or upgrading of your electric service, or installing customer-owned generation, always ensure that you use qualified licensed contractors and have obtained proper permits.  In addition, make sure you are aware of all interconnection requirements of any customer-owned generation in the City of Mesa's Electric service territory.

Check out the website for the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) at www.esfi.org for additional information on home and work safety.


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Frank McRae, Director