Home Safety

Tree pruningCheck for power lines in or near trees before pruning branches.

Electrical safety hazards may be lurking inside and outside your home. To learn more about how to stay safe around electricity, click on any item below; click on it again to "close" it.

Safety indoors
  • Keep appliances away from water and always make sure your hands are dry when using them.
  • Make sure outlets near water sources have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to shut off power in time to prevent serious injury. GFCIs should be used in bathrooms, garages, near kitchen sinks and outdoors. If your outlet has red and black "test" and "reset" buttons, it has a GFCI.
  • Repair or replace an appliance if the cord is frayed.
  • Childproof outlets.
  • Use extension cords wisely. Never exceed the cords' load rating.
  • Use three-pronged plugs only in three-pronged outlets. Never remove a prong from three-pronged plugs – the third prong grounds electricity and is there for safety.
Safety outdoors
  • Pay attention to the location of all overhead power lines. Make sure to check for power lines in or near trees before trimming or pruning branches. Don't use pruning tools or ladders near power lines. Never try to remove a branch that is tangled or lying across a power line. Instead, call us at 1-888-221-7070 – we'll be happy to remove it for you. FOLLOW THE 10-FOOT RULE! Always keep yourself and anything you're handling at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
  • Make sure you "call before you dig" when putting in fence posts, planting trees, installing sprinkler systems or excavating for new construction. Call the underground utility locating service in your area or call us at 1-888-221-7070 and we'll give you the number.
  • Use electric power tools only in dry weather.
  • Never sit on, play on or dig near pad-mounted transformers (green, metal boxes most often found in neighborhoods and parks). And never pry them open. They are locked up for safety. If you find one that has been unlocked or damaged, call us immediately at 1-888-221-7070.
  • In winter, remember to watch for power lines while cross-country skiing and snow-mobiling. Deep snow packs can bring you within touching distance of some overhead lines, so pay attention to your surroundings while you're having fun.
  • Do not spray water on power lines, equipment or structures. A stream of water hitting a power line can create a path for electricity.
  • Do not locate play structures or trampolines near power lines.
  • Never swim in or near marinas, docks or boatyards where boats may be hooked up to power. 
Safety for children

Remind children to:

  • Never climb power poles, transmission towers or substation fences. If a tree is near a power line, do not build forts or climb in.
  • Fly kites far away from power lines – if a kite does get caught in a power line, release the string at once.
  • Don’t play on or dig near pad-mounted transformers (big, green metal boxes found in neighborhoods and parks).
  • Seek shelter indoors during thunderstorms.  
Downed power line safety
  • If you spot a power line down, keep everyone out of the area and call 911 and us at 1-877-508-5088. Never try to move a downed line. Always assume a downed line is energized and dangerous. Touching a live line or anything near it – like a fence or a puddle – can cause electricity to flow through your body, resulting in serious injury or death. Stay safe and stay away.
  • If an electric line falls on your car and you're inside it, stay inside until help arrives. You are safe from electrical shock as long as you're inside the vehicle. If you must escape due to a car fire, leap from the open vehicle with both feet together, (and continue to hop away with both feet together) taking care to never touch the car once you've made contact with the ground. Warn others to stay clear of the vehicle until power company officials arrive.
Holiday safety
  • Take care when decorating with holiday lights. Only use safety-tested lights that carry the "UL" label.
  • Do not use indoor lights outdoors and vice versa.
  • Turn off light displays before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Inspect and make sure decorative lights have no frayed wires, cracked sockets or connections that may cause a fire or electrical injury.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lights.

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