Vermillion Light and Power urges homeowners to check for hazards

Vermillion Light and Power urges homeowners to check for hazards May is a good month to check your home for electrical hazards, says the National Electrical Safety Foundation. The Rosslyn, VA-based group has dubbed May as National Electrical Safety Month, and offers a 10-point checklist for home safety.

"Electrical safety is a year-round responsibility for everyone," says Mike Hays, superintendent of Vermillion Light and Power. "But spring-cleaning time is the perfect time to look for accidents waiting to happen. You're scouring your house anyway."

Vermillion Light and Power, endorses the NESF checklist:

* Outlets. Replace missing or broken wall plates, and make sure they're protected by child safety covers if there are little ones in the house.

* Cords. It's tempting to nail or staple cords to walls and baseboards to keep them out of the way. But if you puncture the cord, it can overheat and catch on fire.

* Extension cords. So many of us use extension cords as permanent plugs � and that's risky. Extension cords are meant to be used only temporarily. They're not sturdy enough for prolonged use.

* Plugs. The third pin on the plugs of new appliances is there for a reason. It's a grounding pin. Never, ever cut it off to fit into a two-prong outlet. Instead, call an electrician to have your outlets updated.

* Ground fault circuit interrupters. If you don't have one already, drop everything and go buy one. GFCIs can prevent electrocution. They prevent the flow of power when they sense there is a problem.

* Light bulbs. Did you know that each lamp in your house is designed for a light bulb with a specific wattage? If you put a 100-watt bulb into a socket designed for a 75-watt bulb, it could cause a fire. Check all your fixtures today.

* Circuit breakers and fuses. It's important to replace blown fuses and worn circuit breakers with the correct size. If you don't know the correct size, call an electrician.

* Water and electricity. They don't mix. Take a second after you blow-dry your hair in the bathroom to unplug your hair dryer. If you don't and it falls into the water, it can shock or electrocute anyone who touches it � even if it's turned off.

* Entertainment and computer equipment. Protect the intricate parts of your expensive equipment by plugging the device into a surge protector. Surge protectors help prevent electrical surges from damaging your equipment.

For more electrical safety tips, visit the National Electrical Safety Foundation Web site at

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