Electric Safety

At home, at work, and at play

Cords, plugs, and outlets

  • Make sure extension cords used outdoors have a UL label indicating that they're suitable for outdoor use.
  • Discard holiday decorations with worn or frayed electrical cords, damaged plugs, or loose connections.
  • Cover all unused outlets that are accessible to small children with safety covers.
  • To avoid electric shock, make sure your plugs fit your outlets. Never remove the ground pin (third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-conductor outlet.

Electric appliances and tools

  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in any damp or wet locations.
  • If a plugged-in appliance falls into the water, NEVER pull it out or unplug it, even if it's turned off. First turn off the power source at the main electrical panel.
  • Use a surge protector that bears the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency on computers and entertainment equipment. Also plug in your modem to this surge protector.
  • Don't use power tools in the rain, on wet grass, or in any type of wet conditions. Before each use, inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers for frayed cords, broken plugs, and cracked or broken housings.
  • If you use a standby generator, be sure it's installed and wired properly. Never connect a generator directly to your main electric panel. Without the correct safety mechanisms, power from the generator could flow onto the power line and injure you or a utility lineworker. 

Fire prevention

  • Replace outlets in which plugs fit loosely. Worn outlets can overheat and lead to fire.
  • Securely screw in lightbulbs because loose bulbs can overheat.
  • Don't run cords under rugs or rest furniture on them. This may cause damage and allow cords to overheat.
  • Keep one or more fire extinguisher in your home and be sure everyone knows where to find them and how to use them. 
  • Change your smoke alarm batteries regularly. Many people use the switch to and from daylight saving time as a reminder to change batteries. 

Utility equipment and property

  • Never climb on utility equipment such as poles, transformers (green boxes), and substation fences.
  • Never throw things or shoot at utility equipment including power lines, transformer, poles, or insulators.
  • If you notice damaged utility equipment, please call your local utility. If you believe there could be immediate danger, call 911.
  • Fly kites, balloons, and model airplanes in open areas far from overhead electrical lines.
  • Keep ladders away from overhead lines. If you use a straight ladder, follow the four-to-one rule: Place the ladder base one foot away from the object on which it leans for every four feet of height to the ladder's resting point.
  • Install or remove an antenna in dry weather only. Maintain a distance of at least twice the antenna's length between the antenna and the power line.
  • While snowmobiling watch for utility poles, guy wires, fences, underground cable junction boxes, and right-of-way. Remember that dangers are not easy to see from a speeding snowmobile, especially in the dark.
  • Stay at least 50 feet away from downed power lines. Never try to remove a downed line yourself. Immediately contact us or call 911.