Electricity is a tremendous force moving at the speed of light that we generate and control in wires and equipment. As long as electricity is isolated, we can use it safely. But when the full force of electricity is loose, terrible accidents can happen. Knowing a few simple principles can save you from injury or possibly worse.
Electrical Safety Awareness
Safety City is an electrical safety program for students, youth groups, emergency personnel, contractors, adult groups and other organizations. Safety City uses a model to demonstrate real-life scenarios involving electricity and explain how to stay safe in these situations
Safety City is free and can be arranged to come to your location (within the areas we serve). Presenters will bring everything they need to engage the group in an active demonstration of electrical safety. All you need to provide is an electrical outlet.
Safety City may be scheduled at a date and time convenient for your group by calling 228-865-5231. The program typically lasts 30 - 60 minutes, depending on questions.
Tips for Dealing with Downed Wires
Stay away from downed lines. If you ever see a wire on the ground, assume it is energized. Report a downed wire to the power company, or call 911.
Tips for Around the Home
- Cords - Don't place appliance cords where they will come into contact with the stove or other heated surfaces. Don't hang appliance cords over countertops so they won't be accidentally pulled down.
- Ladders - Exercise caution when using ladders, painting, pruning or cleaning near a service drop. (A service drop is where the wiring comes into a house or building at the meter.) Weatherproofing on the overhead wiring is not insulation. This covering can become brittle and cracked, exposing you to electrical contact.
- Outlets - Look for outlets that have loose fitting plugs, exposed wires or broken plates. Have them fixed by a qualified electrician. Use safety covers on all outlets accessible to children.
- Poles - Don't swing, climb or run into guy wires supporting utility poles. Report damaged guy wires to the power company.
- Pools - Don't use electrical appliances near pools; don't route extension cords in the vicinity of pools; don't raise pool maintenance or rescue poles into overhead power lines. Pools use an underground grounding grid to prevent shock. If you feel a tingling sensation when getting in or out, call a qualified electrician.
- Shoes - Avoid damp or wet areas when using electrical power tools outdoors. Wear sturdy, rubber-soled shoes when working with electrical appliances outdoors. NEVER use electrical equipment when barefooted.
- Trees - Don't climb trees near power lines. Keep balloons, kites, fishing lines and aluminum poles away from overhead lines. The lines are not insulated and you could create a path to ground by touching them.
Tips for Power Tools
- Inspect - Power tools and cords should be inspected routinely. If they have broken or frayed insulation or cause shocks, smoke, emit strange odors, or spark - replace or repair the tool.
- Ground - Check for grounding. Make sure all 3-wired tools and appliances with flexible cords are properly grounded.
- Operate - Observe tagout and lockout procedures for heavy electrical equipment. Turn off power tools before unplugging; turn switches off before plugging in. Do not cut off ground prongs. This eliminates the protection grounded cords afford to you.
- Overload - Check the amperage rating for an extension cord and make sure it is greater than, or equal to, the tool you will be using. You can determine this by comparing the rating labels on both the cord and tool you intend to use.
- Extension cords - Never substitute for permanent wiring. Keep slack in the cords. Tape when running across traffic areas. Avoid pinch points at closed doors or windows. Don't staple or nail extension cords to walls. Keep away from oil or corrosive material.
- Water - Before using an extension cord outside or in a wet area, confirm that the cord is rated for outdoor use and make sure the cord is connected to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.
- Amperage - Make sure the amperage rating for an extension cord is greater than, or equal to, the tool you will be using. You can determine this by comparing the rating labels on both the cord and tool you intend to use.
Tips for Working with Machinery
Call us before you work. Protection from contact with overhead wiring is provided by ISOLATION - or distance - not by insulated covering.
If your equipment contacts power lines, electricity may contact with the ground. If so, the earth becomes energized in a large area around the contact. The strength of the electrical charge decreases from the point of contact. This is why it is vital not to separate your feet since there may be a difference in the electrical charge under each foot. This difference could create an electrical path through your body.
If you make contact with a high voltage line while operating heavy equipment take the following precautions:
- Stay on the equipment, if possible, until help arrives
- Avoid touching any metal parts, and
- Try to break the contact by moving the machine.
If it is absolutely necessary to exit the machine, jump as far out as possible and make sure you do not fall back against the machine. Land with both feet together and hop or shuffle your feet a few inches at a time making sure to never break contact with the ground or cause separation between your feet. Don't walk or run. Get as far away as possible.
Tips for Preventing Electrical Fires
- Combustibles - Keep area around electrical equipment clear of combustibles such as sawdust, paper, cardboard, and flammable liquids.
- Escape - Know locations of emergency exits and fire escapes and know the escape routes from your work area. Fire escape plans should be posted and exits clearly marked.
- Extinguishers - Know where the nearest fire extinguishers are and how to use them. Only Class C extinguishers are safe to use on energized electrical equipment.
- Maintenance - Prevent oil and dirt buildup on electrical appliances. This situation can cause electrical equipment to overheat and short circuit. When buildup does occur, shut off electrical equipment and unplug its power supply. Use only clean dry rags and brushes and follow manufacturer's instructions.
- Overloads - Electrical fires are frequently caused by overloaded equipment and circuits. This can cause insulation to burn, create sparks, and leave exposed wires. Don't overload electrical equipment by attempting to do heavier jobs than the equipment can handle.
- Repair - Shut off all electrical equipment that produces odd sounds, odd smells or sparks. Have it checked by a qualified technician. Tag and remove hard wired equipment from service so that it cannot be accidentally energized while it is being repaired or replaced.