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Activities & Experiments

Do the Safe Thing

GFCI-protected outletElectricity + Water = Danger

  • Make sure your hands are dry before you touch anything electrical, even if you think it’s turned off. Keep electric cords and appliances away from water, and unplug appliances before cleaning them.

  • Use only a battery-powered radio or boom box near a swimming pool or other wet area.

  • If you see someone using electricity near water, remind them to plug their appliance or equipment into a GFCI-protected outlet or to get a portable GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter). These devices monitor the flow of current to and from an appliance. If more current is flowing to an appliance than coming back, it means that some is traveling to the ground—perhaps through you—and the GFCI will quickly cut power to prevent a serious shock. These devices are also known as GFIs (ground fault interrupters).
  • Never use water on an electrical fire. Use a multipurpose fire extinguisher instead.