According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 11 percent of fatal fires in residential buildings start because of an electrical malfunction. That’s a disturbing statistic, but there’s something you can do to prevent electrical fires in your mom’s home and help keep her safe. May is National Electrical Safety Month, so it’s time for your mom’s house to have an electrical check-up. We’ve assembled some electrical safety tips to help you determine whether your mom’s home is safe.
Problems with extension cords cause around 3,300 fires each year. When used improperly, extension cords can overheat, causing fires. To prevent fires caused by extension cords, follow these tips:
- Don’t plug one extension cord into another extension cord. Instead, purchase one cord that is long enough to do the work.
- Don’t nail or staple extension cords to floors, walls, or baseboards. Although you want to make certain extension cords don’t pose a tripping hazard, stapling or nailing damages the cord.
- Don’t use extension cords with heaters or fans that could cause the cords to overheat.
- Don’t use a three-pronged plug with a two-hole outlet, and never cut the ground pin off a plug to make it fit.
- Inspect extension cords regularly for wear or fraying. Replace old cords promptly.
Inspect outlets throughout the house for potential safety issues. Feel each outlet to see if it feels warm or hot to the touch. If so, the outlet should be inspected and repaired or replaced. Check for outlets that are wobbly. Loose outlets should be re-anchored for stability. Replace all old two-pronged outlets with safer, grounded three-pronged outlets. Make sure outlets that are near water sources are GCFI outlets.
Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers
Make sure there are smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside of every sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Batteries should be replaced at least once per year or when the alarm “chirps,” signaling that batteries need replacing. Smoke alarms should also be tested once per month by pushing the “test” button.
Make sure there are working fire extinguishers in the home. There should be a fire extinguisher on every level of the house. Also, check that your mom knows how to use them in case of a fire. Remind your mom that she should never throw water on an electrical fire.
How a Senior Care Provider Can Help Keep Your Mom Safe
Hiring a senior care provider to visit your mom in her home can help keep your mom safe by being an extra set of eyes to notice unsafe practices in your mom’s home. A senior care specialist can let you know about situations that seem unsafe. They can also perform small tasks around the house, including changing the batteries in smoke alarms and perform monthly testing. Your mom’s senior care specialist may also be willing to walk your mom through performing a safety check-up on her house using a checklist you provide. Your mom may enjoy taking an active role in the upkeep of her home, allowing her to feel safer and more independent. If you determine that you need to hire an electrician to fix problems, your mom’s senior care provider may be able to be present during the appointment or remind your mom of an upcoming appointment.
If you or someone you know needs senior care in St. Cloud, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.