Unfortunately, safety can be taken for granted—until something goes wrong. Don’t be caught off guard with electrical safety. June is National Safety Month and a good time to make electrical safety education a priority and take an active role in learning all that you can to keep you and your loved ones safe.
“Whether, it’s lights, TVs, computers, or refrigerators—electricity powers our everyday lives in a number of ways,” says Jim Monk, Safe Electricity Advisory Board member. “Yet we need to remember to respect the power of electricity and know what steps to take to stay safe around it.”
Abide by the following tips to help you avoid electrical hazards:
• Establish a network: When traveling, ensure that safety is within reach. Take your cell phone with you so that call for help when needed. If you see a downed line, stay away, warn others to stay away, and call 911 to have the utility notified.
• Plug into safety: Check that cords and plugs are in good shape, with no cracking or fraying. Never use a damaged electronic, and do not try to repair them yourself.
• Don’t get overloaded: Plugging in too many appliances to an outlet can strain your electrical system.
• Give electricity its space: Always keep a minimum distance of 10 feet from overhead power lines. Look up and look out for overhead wires, especially when working on a roof, trimming trees, and using ladders.
• Know what is below: Take the time to call 811 before you start any digging project. Even if you have had an area marked before, call to have the area checked again. Natural changes to the soil, such as erosion or root growth, can alter the depth and location of buried lines. Once all buried lines have been marked, respect the boundaries, and dig carefully.
• Stay out of hot water: Do not use electrical equipment when it is raining or the ground is wet. In addition, all outlets near areas with water should have GFCI protection. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) monitor the flow of electricity in a circuit. If there is an irregularity of electrical flow, the power is cut off, preventing an electric shock.
• Maintain the calm before the storm: Stay up-to-date with the forecast so that you can take the appropriate shelter in case of severe weather. Develop emergency communication plans with your family and keep your emergency preparedness kit stocked in case power is lost.