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Electricity safely powers our modern society and our daily lives. It is easy to take electricity for granted. If not treated with caution and respect, electricity can cause severe injury and even death.
electrical safety resources
electrical safety tips
  • Treat all wires with respect and caution, regardless of size. Always assume any wire is energized.
  • Never enter an electric substation. If you see suspicious activity inside or near a substation, call 911 immediately.
  • Learn what “Danger High Voltage” signs look like, and stay away from power lines, substations and pad-mounted electrical equipment.
  • If your vehicle comes to rest touching a downed power line, stay inside the vehicle, remain calm, and call 911 and APS. Warn others to stay away from the vehicle and wait for rescue workers to arrive. Ensure the area has been made safe by the utility company prior to exiting the vehicle. If you must get out of the vehicle due to a life threatening situation, jump out of the vehicle without touching both the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away in very small steps, or hop away with both feet together, until you are at least 50 feet away from the danger area. Once you have evacuated the vehicle, do not return or touch the vehicle until the utility makes the area safe.
  • Electricity travels at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second.
  • Electricity seeks all paths to ground. Never put yourself in a position to become part of the path to ground by touching (or stepping on) energized wires with your hands or clothing, or indirectly using tools, materials, or equipment.
  • Don’t climb trees near power lines, tree branches can conduct electricity.
  • Do not use water on an electrical fire. Call 911. If possible, and if safe to do so, unplug the device that is on fire or turn the power off at the main breaker switch in the service entrance breaker panel. Evacuate to a safe area outside and away from the fire.
  • Call 911 if you see a downed power line or exposed electrical equipment. Keep yourself safe by staying 100 feet away.
  • Make sure all your outdoor outlets are waterproof and covered.
  • Select a dry day to power up electrical equipment or power tools outdoors.
  • To avoid electric shock during a lightning storm, avoid using a phone or fax machine.
  • Put a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) between your electric power source and your electric product. In a mishap, a GFCI can cut off power in less than a second.
  • Keep cords out of your path or work area. Always know where the cord is located at all times.
  • Use your electrical outdoor equipment such as electrical clippers or trimmers and mowers in dry weather.
  • Check with your electric utility before digging. Make sure you know the location of buried electrical lines even in your back yard. Call Blue Stake before you dig, 800-STAKE-IT.
  • Never try to repair electrical products yourself unless you are a qualified electrician.
  • Contact your local electric utility before you trim or cut down trees that are near overhead powerlines.
  • Outdoor electrical equipment should be turned off when being carried or hooked up to attachments, such as mower baskets.
  • Be sure amperage ratings for outdoor extension cords are higher than those electrical products they are used with. Check owner’s manuals and electrical labels. (Amp ratings can range from 1 for a bug killer to 15 for a snow blower.)
  • When using electrical equipment outside, use only weather-resistant heavy gauge extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  • Turn off electrical products if the cord overheats.
  • Never remove the third prong of a three-pronged plug. It can protect you from electrical shock. Instead, convert two-pronged outlets to fit three-pronged plugs using an adapter with a grounding tab.
  • Even small appliances, such as hair dryers, curling irons, or toasters, can be potentially dangerous if left plugged in, especially during an electrical storm.
  • Fuses and circuit breakers are safety devices located on your electrical panel. Use the correct size fuse for your fuse box. Replacing a fuse with the wrong size can be a fire hazard.
  • Put safety covers on all wall outlets. Avoid ornamental safety caps that may tempt a child to play with wall outlets.
  • Never leave lamp sockets empty. Always replace burned out light bulbs immediately.
  • Keep all electrical cords out of reach and out of sight so that children and pets won't pull appliances off tables or counters.
  • Don’t run electrical cords underneath rugs, carpets or furniture. Walking on cords can break wiring and cause a fire.
  • Check the electrical rating on appliances and extension cords. Do not plug one extension cord into another unless they are the same rating.
  • Use extension cords on a temporary basis; they are not safe as permanent household wiring. Make sure the cord is not wrapped around itself or another object.
  • Never go to sleep with an electric heating pad turned on.
  • Make sure your electric blanket is in good condition. Look for cracks or breaks in the wiring, plugs or connectors and look for charred spots on both sides of the blanket surface. Any of these conditions indicate a potential fire hazard.
  • To prevent overheating, make sure nothing covers your electric blanket. Don’t tuck in the sides or ends of your electric blanket.
  • Unplug the toaster or toaster oven (then let it cool) before using a knife or fork to remove a stuck slice of bread or bagel.
  • Never reach into water to get an appliance that has fallen in without first unplugging the appliance.
  • Remember, electricity and water don’t mix. Keep all electrical products and cords, such as radios, televisions, hair dryers and curling irons away from water.
  • Use only extension cords  that have been listed by a recognized certification organization such as Underwriters Laboratory.
  • Use light bulbs that are the proper wattage  for your lamp or lighting fixture. A bulb of too high wattage or the wrong type may lead to overheating and cause a fire.
  • If plugs seem to fit loosely into wall outlets, the wall outlet may need repair. A loose-fitting wall outlet can cause overheating. Have an electrician check the outlet.