Safety Tips

We are committed to keeping our customers safe. Read on for information on electric safety, fire safety, and storm safety.

 

Safe Cooking

  • If you have to leave the kitchen, even for a few minutes, set a timer or take along a potholder, a spoon or another item to remind you that you have something on the stove.
  • Don’t cook if you’re very tired, sleepy, or taking medication that can make you drowsy.
  • Make sure you have an appropriate fire extinguisher in the kitchen and that it’s in working order.
  • Don’t leave potholders, paper towels or other items that can catch fire easily near the range-top. And watch your own clothing! A loose sleeve can easily brush a burner and catch fire.
  • Never leave a burner or oven on when you’re through cooking. Double-check that all burners and ovens are turned off. An open burner without a pan on it is very dangerous!
  • If a fire does break out, DO NOT use water or flour to try to put the fire out. Water can spread a grease fire, and flour adds fuel to the flame. The best choice is a fire extinguisher; the next best option is baking soda.
  • If your oven catches fire, don’t open the door! You’ll just add oxygen, which feeds the fire. Turn off the oven and keep the door closed. This is another good reason for having an oven with a window in the door.
  • If a range-top pan catches fire, slide the pot lid on to the pan to extinguish the flame.
  • If you’re at all unsure of your ability to put out a cooking fire, don’t try! Get everyone out of the house and call the fire department immediately.

Is Your Wiring Safe?

How do you know if your home’s electrical system is properly wired or in need of repairs or upgrades? Here are four key indicators to remember:

  • Whenever you turn on an appliance, such as a dishwasher, clothes washer or dryer, the lights in your home dim.
  • You frequently have problems with fuses blowing or circuit breakers tripping off.
  • Appliances that should heat up, such as toasters and irons, don’t get as hot as they should or take a longer time to heat up.
  • Your television picture shrinks when other lights or appliances come on.

If any of these problems plague your home, call in a licensed electrician quickly. Old, inadequate wiring, overloaded circuits and other problems aren’t just inconvenient – they’re dangerous. So play it safe. And remember – rewiring a home, adding circuits or upgrading systems is a job for a qualified, professional electrician.

Avoid Electrical Fire Hazards

  • Check Your Dryer Vent – The next time you’re cleaning out the lint trap on your clothes dryer, go an extra step and check the exhaust hose that blows the hot air outdoors. The lint trap doesn’t catch everything; some lint always escapes and builds up in the dryer vent. Not only does that affect the efficiency of your dryer but it can also be a serious hazard. Many fires begin in homes each year because of the trapped, heated lint in clothes dryer vent hoses.
  • Check Electrical Cords – Pinched electrical cords present real risks. The cord’s insulation can be damaged, exposing the wires and leading to fire or shock. So check around your house. Is a lamp cord compressed by the leg of a chair? Is the washing machine cord pinched against the wall or the back of the appliance? It’s a simple problem to fix, but left unattended, these cords present a very real danger.
  • Closet Lights – It sure is handy to have a light in the closet, but realize that lights produce heat. Be sure to keep flammable items well away from closet light bulbs and fixtures. So as you’re storing towels, paper goods, wrapping paper or even a stack of clothing, pay attention! If you forget and leave the light burning, it could generate enough heat to set fire to combustible materials.
  • Extension Cords – Remember – extension cords are intended for temporary use only! If you find that you have a lot of equipment and/or appliances plugged into an extension cord, and that they have been there for several months or even years, you probably need to have some electrical upgrading done on your home in order to update your system and install extra outlets.
  • When using extension cords, check them frequently. If a cord ever feels hot to the touch, unplug it! It’s overheating, and that presents a serious fire hazard.

Fuse Box Safety

Although many homes today have circuit breakers, some older homes may still use an old-fashioned fuse box. If your home has a fuse box, keep these cautions in mind to avoid accidents, fires or other problems:

  • Never use a penny to replace a blown fuse! Fuses are designed to offer protection against short circuits and fires; pennies aren’t. Keep a good supply of the fuses your home needs on hand so you’re not left in the dark.
  • Turn off all the appliances on a circuit before you change the fuse for that circuit, and be sure to open the main fuse. If you don’t take these steps you could receive a serious shock.
  • Never change a fuse in the dark! Use a flashlight to help you see what you’re doing.
  • Don’t stand in the rain, a puddle, or on a wet surface when changing a fuse, and be sure your hands are dry, too.
  • Use the right fuse for the right circuit. Most lighting and basic outlet circuits require 15 amp fuses; circuits that supply power to larger appliances, such as dryers and electric stoves, will require fuses rated at a higher amperage.
  • Fuses marked with a “P” or a “D” are designed to fail if the panel overheats, to reduce the likelihood of a fire in the fuse box. Don’t replace these with ordinary fuses. The D fuse is used for circuits with appliances that have electric motors; P fuses are for circuits with appliances that generate heat but aren’t motorized.
  • Make sure you always screw fuses in tightly.

Transformer Box Safety

  • If your home is served by underground electric cable, you may want to plant some flowers or shrubs nearby to disguise that transformer cabinet on your property. Don’t do it!
  • Our line crews need easy access to those cabinets to perform maintenance and repairs. Shrubs and trees and even flowerbeds can block access, and after the work is done, you’ll be unhappy about the state of your plants!
  • Also, it may be dangerous to plant or work close to these transformer cabinets. They contain high-voltage cables that should be avoided at all times, except by our trained personnel. So give those cabinets a wide berth – and teach your children to stay away, too. Warn them not to play around the cabinet, and never attempt to open it!

Mylar Safety

Mylar (metallic) balloons are risky around power lines. Never let your children release mylar helium balloons outside or use metallic cloth, wire or tinsel for kite frames or kite string. If these materials, which contain metal, come into contact with power lines, they can cause electric shock, outages or even fires.

Water Feature Landscaping Safety

  • Make sure any pump you use to aerate and recirculate your pond is rated for underwater use (submersible). Using a non-submersible pump, at best, will ruin the pump. At worst, you could be exposed to electrical shock. The same is true for underwater lights.
  • Your exterior electrical outlets should be equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). Exterior GFCI outlets should also be equipped with covers to prevent rain or splashing water from breaking the circuit.
  • Never hook a pump to an extension cord, even one rated for exterior use. The pump should be plugged directly into the GFCI outlet.
  • Use care when installing and plugging in the pump. Lower the pump into the pond, making certain it is stable. Then be certain to dry your hands and stand on a dry area before you plug it in.
  • Keep other electric tools and appliances away from the pond. If you should drop anything electrical into the pond, unplug the tool before you try to retrieve it.