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 are suitable for outdoor use.
  • Discard holiday decorations with worn or frayed electrical cords, damaged plugs, or loose connections.
  • Put safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to small children.
  • 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, without first turning off the power source at the main electrical panel.
  • On computers and entertainment equipment use a surge protector that bears the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency. Also plug in your modem to this surge protector.
  • Power tools should not be used in the rain, on wet grass, or in any type of wet conditions. Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before each use 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. They may be damaged or overheat.
  • Keep one or more fire extinguishers in your home and be sure everyone knows where to find them.
  • Change your smoke alarm batteries regularly. Many people use the switch to and from daylight savings time as a reminder to change batteries. 

Utility equipment and property

  • Never climb on utility equipment including poles, transformers (green boxes), or substation fences.
  • Never throw things or shoot at utility equipment including power lines, transformer, poles, or insulators.  If you find damages to any of these please call your local utility and if you believe it is creating an 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 it 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 away from downed power lines. Never try to remove a downed line yourself. Immediately contact your local utility or 911.
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