Electrical Safety Starts With You

Every electrical device has a purpose and a service lifespan. None will last forever. When electricity is involved, failures present electrical hazards.

In recognition of May being National Electrical Safety Month, Wasco Electric Cooperative recommends looking around your home and correcting any
safety hazards.


Outdoor outlets or those in damp locations in a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room often include ground-fault circuit interrupters. GFCIs are designed to sense abnormal current flow and break the circuit to prevent electric shocks from devices plugged into the outlets.

The average GFCI outlet is designed to last about 10 years. In areas prone to electrical storms or power surges, they can wear out in five years or less. Check them frequently by pressing the red test button, then hitting the black reset button. Contact a licensed electrician to replace any failing GFCI outlets.

Unstable electrical outlets or wall switches with signs of heat damage or discoloration offer early warnings of potential shock or electrical fire hazards.
Loose connections can allow electrical current arcing. If you see these signs, contact an electrician.

Surge Protectors

Power strips with surge protectors safeguard expensive electronic equipment from power spikes. Voltage spikes are measured in joules. Surge protectors are rated for the number of joules they can absorb. If your surge protector is rated at 1,000 joules, replace it when it hits that limit because that is when surge protection stops.

Some surge protectors include indicator lights that flicker to warn you when they have stopped working as designed, but many do not. If your electrical system takes a major hit, or if you don’t remember when you bought your surge protector, replace it.

Extension Cords

Extension cords are designed for temporary use. If you regularly use extension cords to connect equipment to wall outlets, you may live in an underwired home. Contact an electrician.

If an extension cord gets noticeably warm when in use, it could be undersized for the intended use. If it is frayed, cracked or has heat-damaged insulation, replace it.

If the grounding prong is missing, crimped or loose, it will not provide the protection intended. Always make sure extension cords used in outdoor or
potentially damp locations are rated for exterior use.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 51,000 electrical fires are reported each year in the U.S., causing more than $1.3 billion in property damage.

Electricity is a necessity for modern living. Wasco Electric is committed to providing safe, reliable and affordable power to members. Please keep these electrical safety tips in mind, and address potential hazards before damage occurs.