Electrical safety is a major issue. Even though electrical problems are far from the first cause of residential fires (cooking causes the most fires resulting in injuries), these fires still happen. On top of that, 6.8% of home electrical fires end up in human injury, according to FEMA and the U.S. Fire Administration. This makes preventing them a top priority.

Luckily, you can take several steps to keep your home safe. While accidents can happen, they don't have to be the norm. Between some basic knowledge and regular maintenance from a qualified electrician, you can reduce the risk to yourself, your family and your property.

How can you help to keep your house safe — electrically speaking? Start with some education. Keep in mind, you don't need to go to technical school or take electrical lessons. Leave the repairs and maintenance to the pros. Instead, take a look at what you should watch out for, avoid and call the experts to fix.

Electrical Cords

That worn extension cord that you've had for years isn't looking right. It's starting to fray and you can see in through the outer-coating. Damaged cords can lead to electrical issues. Never use a cord that has clear signs of wear. And certainly, never use a cord that has a hole, cut or chunk missing from it.

Along with checking for wear, you should take caution with some of the ways that you use extension cords. Extension cords aren't substitutes for permanent wiring. While it's tempting to rig up your own system to save money or time, it can cost you more than a few dollars in the long-run. You need a professional electrical contractor to replace or install wiring, and not a simple cord.

Make sure that your cord and your appliance (or whatever else you're using the cord for) match when it comes to wattage rating. If you aren't sure, ask a pro instead of assuming it's okay.

Outlet Safety

Obviously, you know not to touch an electrical outlet. But that's not the only safety measure you should take around them. How else can you protect your house and yourself from outlet issues? Never overload an outlet. Plugging multiple cords into power strips or other multi-plug devices could overload the outlet.

Chances are you've run into an issue at some point in time where you have a mismatch between the outlet and the number of prongs on the plug. Never remove a prong to fit what should be a three-pronged plug into an outlet that's made for two. There's a reason why it only has two little slots in it. Either choose an appropriate adapter or have an electrician replace the outlet.

Water and Electricity

You can save yourself a shock by separating water and electrical use. This means choosing somewhere other than the clogged sink to blow dry your hair and keeping the radio out of the bathroom.

Avoid making similar mistakes outdoors as well. Don't plug outdoor appliances or devices in near sprinklers or during rain storms.

Outdoor Activities

Rain and sprinkler systems aren't the only issues when it comes to electricity and the great outdoors. Be aware of electrical lines that are buried underground. If you're planning on digging in your yard, call in the pros to help you locate lines first. You don't want to hit a barely buried line with the garden hoe as you’re tilling the dirt for your new garden.

Do you have a possible electrical safety issue in or around your home? Never try to repair or replace any part of your electrical system on your home. Payne Electric Co. can help to resolve the issue in a safe way.