MySafetySign Blog

Electrical safety for children and senior citizens

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“Nearly seven children a day are treated in emergency rooms for electric shock or burns caused by tampering with a wall outlet and one-third of people who are killed by home electrical fires are over the age of 65.”

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) will use May’s National Electrical Safety Month to increase awareness about electrical safety at home, which is often a serious concern for kids and senior citizens. With its theme, “Electrical Safety for All Ages”, the foundation plans to take a multigenerational approach and has developed safety materials which target these at-risk populations.

ElectricNet.com reports, “Following basic safety precautions is the key to preventing many electrocutions and home electrical fires,” says ESFI President Brett Brenner. “This year’s campaign features a collection of easily shareable safety resources that are specifically tailored to older adults, children, and everyone in between to ensure that our messages resonate with the largest audience possible.”

To increase electric safety awareness among children, ESFI will mail over 100,000 toolkits to schools. The toolkits have lesson plans and student activities for grades 3-5. The aim is to make students aware of ways in which they can identify and tackle electrical and fire hazards at home. It is important to do so, because two-thirds of electrical burn injuries happen to children aged twelve and below.

The program for older adults is more information-centric. Tip and fact sheets, plus public service announcements will inform senior citizens about the hazards related to major causes of home fires.

A house fire in Detroit (Image by Sam Beebe, used under a Creative Commons License)

ESFI recommends that if a home is more than 40 years old, the owner should get the electrical system checked by a qualified professional. Older people need to remember to keep extension cords and appliance cords out of the way to avoid trip and fall accidents.

ESFI seeks to connect the two audiences, children and senior citizens, on its site. EFSI’s cartoon mascot Private I. Plug visits his grandma’s house and helps her with electrical dangers. He points out that space heaters should be switched off after leaving the room, smoke alarms should be installed outside the bedroom, and so on. These messages are aimed to help families ensure that elders follow safety precautions to prevent electrical hazards.