Think First for Safety
Every year there are about 20,000 accidents related directly to the misuse of electricity in the United States. These electricity-related accidents result in about 700 people losing their lives. Some accidents result in injuries that cause people to lose the ability to work or participate in activities they enjoy. Don’t become a statistic: Know your electrical safety rules.
Three Big Safety Rules
Remember the “Big Three” physical characteristics of electricity.
Electricity attempts to travel to the ground. No matter where it starts, electricity will try to reach the ground.
Lightning can incinerate a huge oak tree with thousands of volts of electricity. That’s why you should not stand under that tree in a thunderstorm. Touching a live wire at a service drop on the outside of a house can make your body a sizzling path for electricity to reach the ground.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Electricity will follow any available path. The better the conductor, the faster and more powerful the current. Be respectful of electricity’s power.
Electricity travels at the speed of light. Electricity travels at 186,000 miles/299,800 km per second. This is much faster than the human body’s reaction time. If your body makes contact with electricity, there is no warning and no time to react.
Be alert and observant when using electricity.
Outdoor Electrical Safety
- Seek shelter indoors during thunderstorms. Lightning travels much faster than you do!
- Be careful with ladders. Stay away from wires that come into your home (service drops) when painting or pruning.
- Keep metal poles used to clean pools or gutters away from overhead power lines.
- Remind younger brothers or sisters not to climb trees that reach up into power lines. Also remind them to keep balloons and kites away from power lines.
- Remind your family to choose proper equipment for outdoor activities. All extension cords, lights and appliances used outdoors should be labeled for outdoor use.
Electricity is a valuable tool used in work, school and leisure time. Respect its power and develop good safety habits. Play it SAFE and SMART around electricity.
Additional Safety Tips
- Maintain tools properly and clean them regularly. Inspect for damaged cords or plugs, and repair or replace tools accordingly..
- Turn off power tools and appliances before unplugging them; check to see that their switches are off before plugging them back in.
- Don’t unplug an extension cord by pulling on the cord; always disconnect by firmly grasping the plug.
- Note where fire extinguishers are and learn how to use them.
- Create an emergency plan and practice exit drills from your home, school and workplace.