Electrical safety do's & don'ts
Inside your home:
- DO cover all electrical outlets and wall switches with cover plates, and replace any that are damaged.
- Do protect small children and pets by using plastic safety covers in all unused outlets and keeping cords out of sight and reach.
- Do make sure all electrical devices are in good repair - if a damaged wire inside a tool or appliance touches the body of the device, it would be the same as touching a bare wire.
- Do use extension cords only on a temporary basis.
- Do use a quality surge suppresser with enough sockets for every component.
- Do keep all electrical devices away from water sources.
- Do flag the fuse or breaker switch so no one else touches it while you're working. If you're not sure which circuit you'll be working on, turn off the main breaker switch or remove the primary fuse cartridge.
- DON'T yank electrical cords from the wall - this can damage both the plug and the outlet.
- DON'T attach a cord to another surface with nails or staples - they can damage the insulation.
- DON'T use damaged or brittle electrical cords, even if bare wires aren't visible.
- DON'T attempt to fix an electrical appliance or tool while the unit is plugged in.
- DON'T plug one extension cord into another.
Outside your home:
- Do have GFCI outlets and waterproof covers on all outdoor outlets.
- Do look out for overhead power lines every time you use a ladder or pole. Stay at least 10 feet away from any electrical lines.
- Do call a professional for help trimming trees near power lines.
- Do keep electrical devices and cords away from water.
- Do keep children and pets away from padmount transformers. If the door is open or the lock is broken, call your electric company right away.
- Do teach kids to stay far away from substations, and explain what the warning signs mean.
- DON'T assume the black coating on wires is insulation - it could be just plastic weatherproofing that provides no protection from contact injuries.
- DON'T let kids climb trees or fly kites near power lines.
- DON'T disguise transformers or meters with paint or bushes - a utility worker might need to work safely around it or find it quickly in an emergency.
- DON'T hang signs on utility poles. Nail, staples or tacks can pose a big danger to workers who must climb the poles.
- DON'T tamper with an electric meter (it's dangerous and illegal), and keep it free of ice and snow during the winter.