The wiring or paths electricity travels in your home are called circuits. One circuit may provide electricity to several wall outlets, or it may be for just one major appliance. Each home has many circuits.
How Electricity Can Hurt You
If the line or wire on which electricity normally travels is broken or interrupted, and you touch it, you may become part of the pathway. You become a conductor for the electricity to travel to the ground. If you touch a live power line, an electric shock will travel through your body to the ground. Never touch a power line, even on the ground. It can cause sever burns or death.
Electricity may also find a new path to the ground if an appliance or a wire is broken. This is called a short-circuit or short. If you touch a wire with damaged insulation or try to use a broken appliance, electricity can use your body as its new path to the ground.
All the inside wiring should be insulated. Rubber or plastic are commonly used as insulation material on wiring. The current cannot travel to ground through the insulation. When you are adding or repairing wiring, it is important to have a qualified person do the work. Faulty internal wiring can cause home fires.
If you see smoke or fire, or smell a strange odor coming from wires, appliances or electric motors, turn off the appliances and the main switch at the circuit breaker or fuse box and call the fire department. Never throw water on an electrical fire! Use a fire extinguisher recommended for electrical fires. You can also use baking soda to put out electrical fires.
If you have an electrical problem such as flickering lights, your electric company employees will check their equipment. Their equipment includes the power lines, transformers and meters. They will make repairs that may be necessary. If the problem is not theirs, you are responsible for checking or repairing your home’s electric panel, circuit breakers, fuses and internal wiring.
Outlets and Safety Caps
Make sure that all outlets and wall switches have cover plates. If you have any unused wall outlets, cover them with plastic safety caps that are available in the electrical section of most stores. These will help prevent small children from pushing objects into the outlet openings.
Avoid octopus plugs. When too many cords are connected to an outlet, they can overload an electrical circuit and cause a fire hazard. Also, plugging too many appliances into one circuit can overload the circuit and trip the breaker or blow a fuse.
Moisture-resistant, three-pronged plugs have a grounding prong that should never be removed. The grounding prong used in a three hole outlet is designed to safely ground electricity.
Power tools and major appliances should have three-pronged plugs. If you do not have a three-hole outlet, adapters are available.
To Be Continued….