May 27

Electrical Safety

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The Electrical Safety Foundation International provides an important reminder that electrical safety is an issue outside of your home as well as inside. Fortunately they have a useful flyer and an excellent blog post with additional tips and information to help you avoid outdoor electrical hazards.
Electrical-Safety-Think-Outside-the-Home-9528
More helpful information from their site:

Power Lines:

  • Always keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet away from a power line. Electricity can jump to nearby objects.
  • Before planting trees near a power line, conduct research or speak with a professional to ensure there’s enough space for it to grow. If you suspect that a tree is too close to power lines, report it to your local utility.
  • Power lines are also underground. Call 811 before you dig.

Outdoor Outlets:

  • Have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) installed, which automatically cut power when a plugged item comes in contact with water or begins to “leak” electricity. Portable GFCIs are also available for use with traditional outlets.
  • Install weatherproof electrical boxes or covers on outdoor outlets.
  • Between 1999 and 2012, 79% of the 931 carbon monoxide fatalities were associated with generators.
  • 24% of the CO fatalities known to have involved generators occurred when it was used inside an attached garage or shed.
  • Make sure your home is properly equipped with carbon monoxide alarms and test them monthly.
  • Position the generator outside the home and away from doors, windows and vents.

Generators:

  • Do not plug generators directly into a home outlet without a transfer switch to prevent backfeed, which could harm utility line workers making repairs.
  • Make sure your generator is properly grounded.

Extension Cords:

  • Extension cords are meant to provide a temporary solution and should not be used long-term or permanently.
  • Never use an indoor extension cord outdoors. Outdoor cords will be labeled “For Outdoor Use” and are often orange.
  • Never attempt to extend the length of an extension cord by connecting it with another extension cord.
  • Be sure the amperage rating for the extension cord is higher than the amperage of the electrical product being used.
  • Only use extension cords that have be approved and tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL, Intertek or CSA.

Additional Tips:

  • Store fuel in approved containers and away from any potential heat sources, like a furnace or space heater or even direct sunlight.
  • When storing electrical products in your garage, use containers to prevent exposure to water or damage caused by animals.
  • If you have a swimming pool, spa, or hot tub, avoid electric shock drowning by having an electrician inspect and upgrade your pool, spa or hot tub in accordance with applicable local codes and the National Electrical Code® (NEC).

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