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Five Simple Steps to Create a
Safer Environment for Seniors

By Brett Brenner

(Page 2 of 2)

3. Set calendar reminders to routinely check the performance of detection devices. Press the “test” buttons on GFCIs, AFCIs and smoke detectors. You should replace smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old and replace batteries at least once a year.

4. Ensure that outlets and power cords are properly loaded. No more than two appliances should occupy a single outlet as overloaded outlets can easily overheat and start a fire. Also, check electrical cords for signs of damage and never run cords under rugs or carpets or pinch them under furniture, doors or windows.

5. Only use electric products that are certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). The “UL” mark indicates that the product has been tested and approved for safety. Be cautious of counterfeit electrical products, which are often sold at deep-discount stores. They may have erroneous UL labels. Look for spelling errors on the product packaging as a red flag that the product may be counterfeit.
For more information and tools to keep seniors safe, visit the resources for older adults section on the ESFI Web site. I invite you to encourage seniors to take a few moments to watch short videos on best safety practices also available on the ESFI Web site.

Brett C. Brenner is president of the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a non-profit organization funded by the top international electrical manufacturers and testing laboratories, electrical unions and associations, utilities, and consumer groups. Mr. Brenner is also a board member of Underwriters Laboratories Consumer Advisory Council and National Fire Protection Association Educational Messages Advisory Committee. More electrical safety information is available at

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