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Electrical Safety Tips

For safety’s sake, we recommend that you always make sure that anyone doing electrical work for you is a licensed electrician or registered apprentice.

Download and print these electrical safety tips

Residential Electrical Safety Tips

To our friends and neighbors: to help keep your home safe, please follow the these guidelines:

Inside the house:

  • Plugs that are not secure on a cord should be replaced immediately; plug plates, switch plates and fixture covers should be firmly in place.

  • GFCI (grounded) plugs are mandatory for bathrooms, within 6′ of a kitchen sink, and for garages and basements.

  • Panel covers are required for panel boxes. Circuits should be labeled clearly, and all fuses should match wire size.

  • Check electrical panel for hot spots; if any are found, have them fixed immediately by a union electrical contractor.

  • Make sure extension cords are the proper size for load, and only use them for temporary purposes. Do not use them as a permanent power supply, or for an extended period, and keep all extension cords away from water. Extension cords used for power tools should be plugged into a GFCI outlet.

  • Do not hang anything on exposed wires; do not store items or walk on exposed wires.

  • Do not store flammable materials next to lights.

  • Check and clean smoke detectors monthly. If you do not have smoke detectors, it is recommended that you purchase and install them immediately, according to local building codes. If the units you have are more than 10 years old, manufacturers recommend replacing them.

  • Any and all bare wires should be replaced immediately.

Outside the house:

  • Check your meter’s service cable; make sure there are no holes in the outer cover from weather wear or physical damage.

  • Make sure the service cable is sealed properly where it enters the house; look for and correct water damage or leaks; water in either the service box or panel can cause corrosion, destroy fuses, and/or create outages.


Retail/Commercial Electrical Safety Tips

To our friends and neighbors: to help keep your business safe, please follow the these guidelines:

  • Test your emergency & exit lights for at least five minutes each month.

  • Check all interior lights weekly for customer and employee safety.

  • Check exterior lights on the building and/or in parking areas weekly for customer and employee safety.

  • Adjust indoor and outdoor timers according to the season.

  • Check and make sure all lighted signs are working properly; they are billboards for your business.

  • Test all GFCI outlets monthly.

  • Avoid using extension cords as outlets; add outlets as needed.

  • Make sure the electrical panel is clearly and accurately marked, showing circuit allocation. This will help if power needs to be shut off to a given area in an emergency or when even minor repairs need to be done.

Safety Tip Tuesday

To our friends and neighbors: to help keep your business

safe, please follow the these guidelines:

  • When working outside, use an extension cord that is rated for outdoor use and is waterproof with a molded plug and cord cap attachments. If you have questions about the best extension cords to use, ask an IBEW NECA 252 electrician.

  • Building systems with standby power, such as a generator, should be exercised at least once per month to verify normal operations and transfer standby loads. Verify the fuel supply is functional as well. If you’re not sure how to verify the system is operational, talk to an IBEW NECA 252 electrician.

  •  It’s always good practice to unplug portable appliances when not in use. This includes toasters, mixers, curling irons, hair dryers, etc. Talk to an IBEW NECA 252 electrician about other appliances you should unplug in your home.

  • Power cords need to be stored safely to prevent damage. Keep stored cords away from children and pets (who may chew on or play with the cords). Try to avoid wrapping cords tightly around objects; this can stretch the cord or cause overheating. Never rest a cord on a hot surface in order to prevent damage to the cord’s insulation and wires. Call IBEW NECA 252 if you have any questions!

  • Give your appliances proper space for air circulation to avoid overheating. Without proper air circulation, electrical equipment can overheat and short out, and can become an electrical fire hazard. Call IBEW NECA 252 if you have any questions about air circulations for appliances.

  • Never use a water-based fire extinguisher on any electrical fire. Always use a properly rated Type C or approved combination fire extinguisher around electrical fires


  • Always remove cords properly from a receptacle by grasping the plug - not by pulling on the cord. Internal wires can become detached, broken and weakened, resulting in possible overloading and overheating of the cord and plug. 


  • If you experience any arcing or flickering when plugging into a receptacle, you could have a loose connection. Contact a licensed electrician to check the circuit and replace the receptacle if needed.


  • Verify all light switches are operational at hallways, habitable rooms, stairways, outdoor luminaires, etc. Replace any old and worn out switches and verify all lamps are operational.

  • Always check and monitor your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, test them regularly and replace batteries often to ensure proper and continued operation.

  • Verify proper operation of all swimming pool filtering equipment and proper function of ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for receptacles, pump motors, underwater luminaires, etc. If repairs are necessary, hire a licensed electrical contractor or electrician.

  • Only use light bulbs that are rated at or below the maximum wattage indicated on the lamp or light. Check the label on the luminaire indicating max wattage. 

  • Never connect a portable generator to the home wiring system during emergencies unless it’s used with an approved and listed transfer switch to prevent back feeds to the utility, and to ensure proper wiring connections from the generator to the home. 

  • If any electrical appliance or electronics have been exposed to water or submerged, do not use them but do dispose of them properly. Many items can have hidden damage, invisible to the naked eye, that can fail due to moisture and water intrusion.


  • Many residential light fixtures feature the benefits of integrated LEDs, but replacing individual components may not be an option. Remember to hire a qualified, licensed electrician to replace these types of fixtures. 


  • Replace or repair damaged power cords. Avoid extension cords as much as possible. Inspect electrical cords once a month to ensure they are not frayed, cracked, or otherwise damaged.

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