Electricity Safety

danger high voltage image

We all need Electricity

Electricity is a necessary part of our daily lives. 

It powers our lights, devices, appliances, equipment, and all kinds of other of other things including more and more, cars.

Always use Caution When Working Near Electricity.

Electricity always seeks the shortest path to the ground. It tries to find something it can pass through to get to the ground, like metal, wet wood or water. Since your body is about 70% water, it’s also a good conductor.

This means that if touching a faulty appliance, or an energized bare wire while your feet are touching the ground, electricity will pass through you to the ground. This can cause a harmful or even fatal shock. It’s invisible but very real, so treat it with respect and take precautions to protect yourself.

Remember:  Electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks and electrocution (death).

Overhead Power Lines Owned by The Electric Company

Here are some commonsense assumptions to make about overhead power line owned by the electric company.

Stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities. If working at heights or handling long objects, survey the area before starting work near overhead wires.

All overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages. Never touch any electric powerline even if it is down or appears to be insulated. Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines and any other issues with power lines.

If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. Call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services.

Extra Precautions for Kids at Play

Kids like to climb trees.  If you have a tree(s) under overhead electric power lines you need to tell your kids this tree is off limits.  You may even want to consider removing the tree.

Sometimes the electric company has utility equipment on installed at ground level.  This is generally an electric substation and it is likely electricity is flowing through it.  Everyone needs to stay away. Often these systems are fenced in. Never climb over the fence!  If a pet or ball gets inside the fence or anywhere near the power station do not climb over the fence or go near it. Contact the power company and wait for them.

Never fly a kite near power lines.

Water and Electricity Are A Bad Combination and Use Caution when Making Repairs

Never operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water.

Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.

Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized.

If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects.  Furthermore, outlets in these wet (or potentially wet) areas (including outdoor and indoor situations) should be ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) which is a special type of electrical outlet designed to cut off the flow of electricity when water is detected. Building codes usually require these outlets when the outlet is in close proximity to water (e.g., near a sink, near a pool, outside outlets, Etc.). 

gfi electrical safety

Don’t Overload an Electrical Outlet

lot of wire on outlet octopus

Protect Your Children by Covering Up Unused Outlets. Kids Want to Tough Everything 

Safety Precautions

As discussed above, your body can be a conductor of electricity. Take extra care to avoid touching bare wires, faulty appliances, or electrical outlets.  If you are unsure whether a wire or electrical appliance is energized, always assume it is.

In the event that a loved one is injured in an electrical accident, immediately unplug or shut off the power source. Never touch someone who is in contact with an electrical current until you know for certain that the power source has been shut off or unplugged

Regularly check wires and extension cords for signs of wear, and repair or replace those that are frayed or cracked.

Cords should never be nailed or stapled to a wall or placed under carpeting.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical cords and temporary wiring account for over 25% of the estimated 81,000 electrical system fires that occur each year. The risk of fires can be reduced by following these essential home electrical safety tips.

Unplug appliances while cleaning or repairing them.

Don’t leave your stove  stove unattended while cooking

Construction on Your Property

Sometimes there are power lines buried on our property (not that other utility equipment can also be buried in your yard (e.g., gas lines, water mains, sewer pipes) .  Before digging in yard, it is a good contact your local call before you dig line.  Most of the country offers this service and it is usually mandatory to call.  They will send out all the utilities to mark underground utilities buried in your yard so you can avoid them.

Never hide an electrical box with live power in a wall.  The box must be accessible for repair/maintenance.  Sometime during a remodel, a contractor or homeowner will burry an electrified electrical box in a wall.  This is dangerous and is illegal according the building codes. Imagine you are hanging a picture on the wall and when hammering in the hook you hit this live electrical box.  Now you’re not having a good day!

Stay Safe,  Steve

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