Electrical Safety Tips
Electrical accidents kill hundreds and injure thousands of Americans each year. Many of these unfortunate and costly accidents can be avoided with simple electrical safety precautions. May is National Electrical Safety Month, and Your Own Utilities encourages our customers to learn about the hazards posed by electricity and how to safeguard their homes.
Electricity always seeks the easiest and least resistant path to the ground. If you touch equipment that is in contact with a power line, for instance, electricity can instantly pass through you, causing a potentially fatal shock. By using the safety guidelines below, you can avoid accidents and enjoy the many benefits of electricity. Remember; always operate electrical equipment in a safe manner being alert and aware of the environment around you.
Call Before You Dig - call Sunshine State One-Call at 800.432.4770 to determine where underground pipes and electric lines are located. Law requires diggers to call this number at least three days before starting excavation, whether it's a project involving heavy equipment or a simple backyard-landscaping job.
Electrical Safety In the Home
Cords, plugs and overloaded appliances plugs or electrical outlets can cause electrical fires. Unplug small appliances when not in use, before cleaning, and never dip them into water. Frayed/damaged cords can cause electric shock or electrocution and avoid running them under throw rugs or carpeting. Buy NRTL (National Recognized Testing Laboratory) accredited appliances as they meet NRTL safety standards and are OSHA accepted. The following are some basic but important safety tips:
- Do not use an electrical appliance in a damp or wet area. Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) at outlets near water. They prevent electrocution by shutting off the current to a circuit when there is a short.
- Never allow children to play with outlets. Place "child proof" devices on all outlets.
- Don't overload electrical outlets. If you must use an extension cord temporarily, match the amperage and wattage limits of the cord and appliance, and do not use damaged cords.
- Keep household appliances in good working order. Never carry appliances by the cords, and remove cords from outlets by pulling on the plug head. Don't run cords under rugs or furniture; they could become damaged or overheated.
- Don't overload electric outlets with too many plugs.
- Avoid using extension cords to connect a light or appliance permanently.
- Check the amperage rating for an extension cord to make sure it is greater than, or equal to, the tool or appliance you will be using.
- Routinely inspect cords for broken or frayed insulation. Immediately repair or replace unsafe cords.
Electrical Safety Outside the Home
Those green and gray boxes that sit in your front yard are electric service transformers/pedestals. Never allow children to play on or near them or other high-voltage equipment.
- Do not trim trees growing over or into overhead power lines. Call Your Own Utilities at 891.4YOU (4968) and request tree trimming services/advice.
- Be cautious when mounting equipment (TV antennas, rain gutters, satellite dishes) on your home. Make sure it cannot fall into or make contact with nearby overhead power lines.
- Before beginning any excavation work, call Sunshine State One-Call at 800.432.4770 to determine where underground pipes and electric lines are located. Law requires diggers to call this number at least three days before starting excavation, whether it's a project involving heavy equipment or a simple backyard-landscaping job that is in or near a utility easement or right-of-way.
- Protect yourself from injury and fire by using ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and grounded outlets.
- Use caution when working outdoors. Watch for power lines when using a ladder, pruning trees, carrying long tools or pipes, cleaning out your pool, working on the roof or installing an antenna.
- Play it safe when you're having fun. Keep kites, model airplanes, fishing poles, sailboat masts, hang gliders, parachutes and boats on trailers away from power lines.
- Use extreme care around swimming pools. Don't use electrical appliances near pools or extension cords in the vicinity of pools.
- Be careful when working or playing around guy wires supporting utility poles. Don't swing or climb on them; avoid running into them with yard equipment or vehicles.
- Remember to look up when working near overhead power lines. If power lines may interfere with your work, call Your Own Utilities 891.4YOU (4968) at least two business days before beginning the job. We can explain the safest way to perform the work.
- Never climb utility poles or towers.
- Stay away from electric substation fences and equipment (They contain high voltage).
Downed Lines Can Be Deadly
Should you encounter or see a downed power line stay at least 10 feet away from it to avoid electric shock or electrocution and call Your Own Utilities immediately at 891.4YOU (4968) to report such problems. Assume the downed line is energized and never touch or try to move a downed line. If anyone comes in contact with a downed line, don't attempt a rescue because the electricity can through the person contacting the downed line and affect you both. Wait until the Electric Utility and emergency personnel can respond
- If your equipment or vehicle comes in contact with a power line, don't panic. Assume the line is energized and stay in your vehicle unless you are in immediate danger from fire or a moving power line.
- If you are forced to leave your vehicle, jump as far away from the vehicle as you can, landing with both feet together. Be sure that no part of your body touches the equipment and ground at the same time. Call 911 as soon as possible and don't return to the vehicle until emergency personnel say it's safe.
- Never touch a fallen power line or anything or anyone in contact with one. In any electrical emergency, stay calm and call for help.
Be prepared for power outages during severe storms. Keep flashlights and batteries where they can be found easily. Unplug your appliances during storms to prevent lightning damage, and don't forget lightning can come into your home through cable television and telephone lines as well.
You can call us 24 hours a day at 891.4YOU (4968) to check on known outages or to report an outage. When power resumes, turn on only necessary items and do so one appliance at a time to avoid overloading the electric system.
Report a power outage now.
Educate your children about electrical safety. Teach them never to put fingers or objects into outlets or appliances, and use outlet covers wherever necessary. Don't let your children climb trees near power lines. Let them play with kites and balloons in open areas away from power lines. Help them recognize "Danger-High Voltage" signs and identify electric utility equipment. Teach them to use 9-1-1 and to seek help in the event of an electrical emergency.