In this activity students learn about ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). They are then asked to search their home or school for GFCIs and perform a simple test to make sure the devices are working. This research activity appears in the section Dangerous Waters.
Questions and Answers
What conclusions can you draw about where GFCIs are placed? Based on your conclusions, are there any outlets that probably should have a GFCI but don’t? Why do some appliances have a GFCI in their cord, but others don’t?
To help prevent electrocution, GFCIs should ideally be placed in all outlets near water (such as in kitchens and bathrooms), in garages, at outside outlets, and in any unfinished basements—all places where the risk of electric shock is high.
Students’ findings about outlets needing GFCIs will vary.
Some appliances have a GFCI built into their cord because they are typically used near water (such as a hair dryer), and use of these appliances puts one at greater risk for electric shock.