Electrical Safety Tips

Electricity is essential to our daily lives and easy to take for granted. It is important to remember that water, metal, and our bodies are good conductors of electricity. Please use electricity respectfully and follow safe practices. Here are some general electrical safety tips for you and your family.

Power Outages

  • Customers on life-sustaining equipment should have emergency power backup, know how to operate it, and test it regularly.
  • Unplug electrical appliances when the power goes out to prevent fires and equipment damage during prolonged outages. Leave one or two lights on to let you know when service is restored.
  • Adequately vent fueled space heaters (e.g., kerosene, propane, and alcohol) to avoid fatal carbon monoxide gas buildup. Never use gas or charcoal grills designed for outdoor use, indoors or in an unventilated space.
  • If used incorrectly, generators pose a significant hazard to both the user and crews attempting to restore power. Never plug them into your home circuitry. Instead, plug appliances and fixtures directly into the outlets of the generator. Be sure to use generators in a well-ventilated area.
Electrical Facilities
  • Never touch or approach a downed wire -- or anything in contact with one. Always assume the wire is live and stay 10 feet away, including anything that you may be holding. Do not remove items caught in power lines. To report after-hours electrical emergencies, call
  • Keep trees in your yard trimmed so they cannot blow into power lines. Schedule a temporary disconnect at least one week in advance if you are planning to do yard work or home repairs within 10 feet of power lines.
  • If a power line falls on your car, stay inside if possible, call 911 and wait for help. But if you must get out, avoid touching the car and the ground at the same time. Also keep your feet together at all times. Jump out of the car then hop or shuffle at least 20 feet away.
  • Stay away from electrical facilities such as poles, transformers and substations. Do not fly things, such as kites, near wires. Do not climb trees located near wires.
  • Before you start any project that involves digging, call (800) 424-5555 to locate underground electrical wires and other utilities so you can avoid coming into contact with them.
  • For more information: Call Before You Dig.
Cords and Outlets
  • Don't mix electricity and water. Avoid using electrical appliances or touching circuit breakers if you are wet or standing on a wet area.
  • When unplugging a cord, pull on the plug -- not the cord. Replace damaged cords. Do not used patched cords.
  • Do not place cords where people will be walking, drape cords over metal objects or coil cords while they're in use.
  • Avoid using extension cords. If you must use one, make sure it is the right capacity for the appliance or tool. Extension cords used outdoors, should be moisture-resistant and grounded (three-prongs).
  • Never cut off the third prong on an electrical plug. The third plug ensures proper grounding and greater safety.
  • To protect against electrical shock, install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) in outdoor outlets and those near wet areas of your home.
  • Overloading an outlet can cause a fire. If more than one appliance is being connected to an extension cord, add the individual amp ratings of the appliances together. The sum should not exceed the amp rating for the cord.
  • Do not let children play near outlets. Use safety covers over unused outlets if children are in your home.
Small Appliances & Lighting
  • Fully assemble appliances before plugging them in.
  • Avoid using an appliance around or in a wet area. Make sure your hands are dry when operating the appliance.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use and when cleaning or repairing them.
  • Never leave operating portable heating equipment unattended.
  • Use only appliances that have been safety-tested by a certified testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
  • Immediately turn off and disconnect an appliance that sparks or stalls.
  • If an appliance falls into water, unplug it. Never pull it out of the water while it is plugged in.
  • Keep combustible materials such as clothing away from heated appliances and light bulbs.
  • Use bulbs of the appropriate wattage in fixtures and lamps. Using a higher wattage bulb than recommended can overheat the bulb and may lead to fire.
  • If the recommended wattage is not labeled on the fixture, use a 60-watt bulb.
  • Don't place insulation over recessed lighting.
  • Only use fuses or circuit breakers with the recommended amps.
  • Make sure your home is wired properly. Inadequate wiring can cause fires.
  • Electrical problems such as fuses or circuit breakers tripping, lights dimming, electric motors running slower than normal can indicate an overloaded wiring system.
Electrical Shock
Never touch a person who is being shocked. If you can do it safely, unplug the appliance or turn off the power. Call 911 and begin Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) after the victim is cleared from contact.