Electrical Safety Tips: Playing it Safe with Power

Electricity is more than the power that lights our homes and operates major appliances – it is a potentially dangerous force that can cause injury and death if handled improperly. Knowing how to play it safe around electricity inside and out can prevent accidents and fatalities.

Outdoor electrical safety begins with common sense. Never climb or play on or around power equipment including wires. If you climb a tree – or have children who might – make sure that no wires run through the tree before anyone mounts the branches. Do not touch any electrical outdoor wires for any reason and never touch the wires with anything – a rake, a pole, or any object.

Before doing any major digging, it’s wise to contact local power companies because in many areas, power lines may be buried.

Watch for overhead wires when doing outdoor work – especially if using a ladder, tree trimming equipment, pool skimmer, or any long tool that could connect with electric lines.

Always keep toys, electrical appliances (hedge trimmers, leaf blowers,) grills, and other items clear of any water including swimming pools, fish ponds, rain, sprinklers, and hoses. Remember that water and electricity are a dangerous combination.

Make sure all electrical outlets have weather proof covers and ground fault circuit interrupters to protect your home.

Kite flyers should make sure all kites are flown in wide open areas without overhead electric wires and make sure all kite materials are non-flammable and non-conducting. Plastic, paper, wood, and string are safe but wire, metal, and foil are not.
The same safety rules apply when flying model airplanes, balloons, or any other toy that takes to the air.

Keep outdoor electrical tools in good repair. Before each use, check cords to make sure that they are not damaged. Always make sure that electrical tools used outside are rated for outdoor use with heavier insulation and special wiring.

Inside the house, maintain electrical safety at all times. Never put anything other than an electric plug into an electric socket. Do not put fingers, pencils, or any objects into any outlet at any time and make sure that children do not do this. Safety caps available at any discount, drug, or grocery store can be placed in unused outlets for safety.

Remove plugs from outlets by grasping the plug and not the cord. Tugging or pulling electrical cords can damage the cords and create a potential safety hazard. Never insert any metal objects into an appliance – i.e. a knife into a toaster to remove stuck bread – without first checking to make sure that the appliance is unplugged.

Always unplug electrical appliances and toys when not in use.

Never use any electrical appliance or device when wet, with wet hands, or when standing in water.

Keep fire extinguishers throughout the home and make sure that at least one of them is rated for electrical fires. Never attempt to put out an electrical fire with water.

In the event of electrical shock, do not attempt to provide first aid but call 911 for professional medical help immediately.

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