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How To Use Home Appliances Safely

Aug 18, 2007
When home appliances were carpet sweepers, churns and washboards, there was little to fear. Today's appliances save us time and energy, but they can turn against us in a second. Until "smart" appliances eliminate the hazards, we've got to control the power of our appliances.

Keep Your Appliances User-Friendly

* Look for safety features when you buy, such as an automatic shut-off switch for your iron.

* Purchase products approved by a recognized testing lab such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

* Read and follow instructions.

* Place small appliances on solid, dry, stable counters or tables.

* Unplug appliances not in use.

* Inspect your appliances periodically for damage, wear or loose parts. If there's a problem, have it checked by a qualified service center before using the appliance again.

* Only use the appliance for its intended purpose. For example, an oven is not a furnace.

* Unplug immediately any appliance that sparks or stalls.

* Be sure your hands and feet are dry before you touch any plugged-in appliance.

* If an appliance cord falls into water, turn off the appliance and unplug it before pulling the cord out of the water. Wait for the cord to be completely dry before using.

* Try to avoid using extension cords. If you must, use a heavy-duty cord.

* If a fire starts in a microwave oven, unplug the unit immediately. Do not open the microwave door until the fire goes out by itself.

* Get a periodic inspection of your gas-burning equipment by a professional. Replace any flexible gas appliance connectors that are more than 10 years old.

* Clean the dryer lint trap before every load.

* Turn off the switch and unplug the lamp when replacing a light bulb. Never touch the metal base while inserting or removing a bulb.

Appliances And Kids

While most home appliances are purchased for adult use, the fact is many of us share our homes with children or grandchildren. Children would love to play with those "toys" they see us using so industriously. Our job is to see they don't.

* Keep small appliances as far away from prying hands as possible.

* On major appliances, use latches designed to lock out youngsters.

* Use the back burners of the range as much as possible. Install a range guard, and turn pot and skillet handles away from the edge.

* Always keep the dishwasher closed and locked. Store knives and sharp utensils with the pointed edge facing down.

* Garbage disposals that work by a wall switch should have a safety lock switch installed.

* Trash compactors should only work with a key, and it should be kept away from children.
Keep your deep freezer locked, and the key hidden.
About the Author
John Myre is the author of the award-winning book, Live Safely in a Dangerous World, and the publisher of the Safety Times Reproducible Articles..
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