You can help avoid electrical shock, burns and fires by beginning your year-round electrical safety awareness efforts now. This is the word being put out by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

«Despite the fact that improved product safety engineering, standards and electrical codes have reduced electrical hazards, thousands suffer from electrical shock and fires each year,» said ESFI President Brett Brenner. To increase electrical safety awareness and protect those at home and in the workplace, ESFI has developed an electrical safety tool kit that includes statistics on electrical hazards and recommendations to avoid electrical shock, burns and fires. An average of 400 people are electrocuted each year and thousands more are injured because of electrical hazards. To curb the leading cause of electrocutions each year, note locations of power lines at home and on the job. Power line contact with construction equipment and items such as ladders and gardening tools are among the leading causes of electrocutions. Greater use of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which protect both those in your home and workplace against lethal electrical currents, can further reduce the number of electrocutions. Estimates indicate electricity causes 140,000 fires each year, which kill hundreds of people, injure thousands more, and cause $1.6 billion in property damage. Aging electrical systems, combined with the growing power demands, contribute to electrical fire hazards. Overloaded circuits, flickering lights, and discolored electrical outlets and light switch faceplates point to the need for electrical upgrades. Addressing these hazards can save lives, reduce injuries and cut economic losses caused by electrical fires.

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