While it is absolutely imperative to exercise caution around electricity regardless of the time of year, summertime is an important time to remind yourself and your family of a few basic electrical safety rules. Print out the following list and keep it in an easily visible spot to refer to regularly:
- Be on the lookout during high winds and storms: look up and all around and be aware of the location of transformers and power lines. If you’re ever stuck outside in a storm, stay clear of these and take shelter.
- Use extreme caution when working anywhere near power lines attached to your home. Always keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet away from lines.
- Never trim trees that are growing near power lines – if you spot a tree growing too close to power lines, call your utility company to report it and don’t attempt to address the issue yourself.
- If you undertake a project that includes digging, like building a deck or planting a tree, call your utility company to determine underground locates at least two business days before digging. This service is free of charge and prevents the inconvenience of having yours or your neighbor’s utilities interrupted, and can help you avoid danger.
- Electricity and water do not mix! If it’s raining or the ground is still wet from rain, refrain from using electric yard tools until the area is completely dry.
- Protect your outdoor electrical outlets with weatherproof outlet covers and ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Indoor electrical outlets near water (like aquariums, kitchens, and bathrooms) should also have GFCIs.
Remind your children to:
- Always, always, always stay away from power lines. Always assume they are "live and dangerous" and will cause serious, even fatal injuries.
- Never climb any trees growing near power lines.
- Never touch outdoor wires with your hands or any other part of your body or by using other objects.
- Always keep flying kites, model airplanes, etc. to great open areas like fields and parks, outside of the danger of trees and overhead power lines. If a kite gets stuck in a tree that is growing near a power line, let it go - do not climb up to get it.
- Never go into or near an electric substation for any reason. Electric substations contain extremely dangerous high-voltage equipment, which can kill you. Never attempt to rescue a pet that goes inside. Instead, call your local electric utility company.