Electrical Indoor & Outdoor Safety

Indoor Safety (scroll down for outdoor safety tips.)

Electricity always seeks the easiest path to the ground. It tries to find a conductor, such as metal, wet wood, water or your body, which is 70% water. If you touch an energized bare wire or a faulty appliance while you are grounded, electricity will instantly pass through you to the ground, causing a harmful or fatal shock. Never touch someone who is being shocked. Turn off the power, if you can. Electricity brings many advantages to our lives, but we should never forget that it can also be dangerous. Make your family aware of electrical safety and how to avoid shock hazards.

Did you know?
Each year, electricity related incidents in the home cause approximately:

  • 300 electrocutions
  • 12,000 shock and burn injuries
  • 150,000 fires

How much is too much current? The amount of electricity used by one 7.5-watt Christmas tree bulb (60 milliamps) can kill you if it passes through your chest.

Conductors of electricity include: metal, water and things that are wet, trees and people

Nonconductors of electricity include: glass, plastic, rubber, porcelain and clean, dry wood

Know what to do in case of . . . 

  • Electrical Shock – Never touch a person being shocked. Turn off the power, if possible.
  • Electrical Fire – Turn off the power, if possible. Never throw water on an electrical fire! Use a multipurpose fire extinguisher or one that is rated for electrical fires.
  • Downed Wire – Stay away from the wire. Don’t touch anything or anyone that is touching it. If the wire is touching a vehicle that you are inside of, wait for help. If you must get out, jump clear. Don’t touch the ground and the vehicle at the same time. Do NOT run; make small shuffles to move away from the vehicle.
  • Electrical Storms – Get inside. If you can’t get inside, go to low ground and crouch down. Don’t use electrical appliances or the telephone. Stay out of the shower or bathtub. Avoid trees and other tall or metal objects. Stay out of water.
  • Appliance Safety – Keep electric appliances, especially hair dryers, away from bathtubs, puddles of standing water, sinks and wet hands. Wet skin increases the risk of shock, so unplug an appliance before cleaning it. Never put metal objects in live parts of appliances or in outlets. If an appliance overheats, unplug it and have it checked. Don’t overload outlets. Pull by the plug, not by the cord, when unplugging an appliance. Use only appliances approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Your Service Panel – Your service panel contains fuses or circuit breakers that interrupt power to specific circuits in case of a short circuit or overload. If this happens:
    • Unplug your appliances.
    • Switch off power at the main switch.
    • Try to determine the cause of the problem and correct it if possible.
    • Replace the bad fuse (look for a broken metal strip) with a new fuse of the same rating.
    • Never use anything other than a fuse to replace a fuse, because it could cause a fire.
    • If you have circuit breakers rather than fuses, switch the one that is “Off” to the “On” position and restore power.
      NOTE: If blown fuses or tripped circuits breakers occur often, contact a qualified repairman.
  • Indoor Grounding – The Third Wire. When you use a plug with three prongs, the third prong connects inside the outlet with a ground wire that usually connects to a water pipe or a ground rod at the service panel. In the case of a short circuit, electricity will flow through the grounding system instead of through you. Never remove the third prong.
  • Use Indoor GFCIs for Extra Protection! Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are found in some outlets and service panels. They monitor the flow of current to and from appliances. If there’s an imbalance in the flow, the GFCI will quickly cut power to prevent serious injury. Use GFCIs in bathrooms, garages, near kitchen sinks and outdoors.

Electrical Safety for Children

Children’s natural curiosity can lead them into serious electrical accidents. Teach children never to put fingers or objects into an electrical outlet, toaster or any other appliance, even if it is off. Keep appliances and cords away from children, bathtubs and sinks. Use plug covers for outlets.

Teach children to recognize “Danger – High Voltage” signs and to stay away from power lines, substations and pad-mounted transformers. Never let children climb trees near power lines.

Outdoor Safety

Play it safe outdoors – Make sure tools and appliances are approved for outdoor use. Outdoor tools are made with heavier wiring and special insulation, as well as three-way grounded plugs. Protect outdoor electrical outlets with weatherproof covers and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to protect against shock. Never climb a utility pole or tree if a toy gets caught in power lines. Call the utility. Never play near or on power equipment. Always call your utility before digging. Power lines (as well as natural gas, water and sewer lines) can be buried underground.

Outdoor toys – Electricity can travel down the strings of kites or balloons that contact power lines and cause shock or fire. Have children use these toys in open areas, away from overhead lines. Keep metallic balloons indoors, as they are highly conductive. Tell children that if a toy gets into power lines or a substation, they should tell an adult to call the power company and should NEVER try to retrieve it themselves.

If you need more information, brochures on electrical safety are available at our front desk at 1200 V.D. Parrott Jr. Parkway.