Electricity is something that we depend on every day. We use it to light our homes, cook our food, and keep us warm. Since it is so commonly used, its dangers often get forgotten. Many people are injured and even killed by electricity every year in the United States. Fire departments respond to over 50,000 fires per year that involve electrical failure or malfunction.

Common Electrical Issues

Let’s have a look at four common electrical issues that can get you in trouble.


  • Check cords for frayed wiring or broken plugs.
  • Don’t pinch cords against walls or furniture or run them under carpets or across doorways.
  • Remember that cords are not to be bundled up when plugged in because they can overheat.
  • Extension cords are for temporary use only.


  • Don't use electric appliances near water or while touching faucets or water pipes.
  • Buy only appliances that bear the label of an independent testing lab (UL).
  • Keep irons, space heaters, and all heat-producing appliances at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Unplug appliances when they're not in use.


  • Replace old outlets with modern ones that accept three-pronged polarized plugs (if your circuit has a ground wire).
  • Install plastic safety covers in outlets to protect children.
  • Never alter a plug to fit into an outlet.

Power Lines

  • Never assume that an overhead power line is electrically insulated; always assume that contact with any line can be lethal.
  • Be aware that you can be electrocuted by touching a power line directly or by touching a conductive material (such as a metal ladder, antenna, pipe, kite) and, at the same time, the earth or any grounded item (such as metal siding or a downspout).
  • Keep away from all downed power lines. A power line that touches the ground can shock or kill you even if you do not touch it.