Electricity surrounds us and makes most aspects of our daily lives possible. We sometimes take it for granted, and forget that it can be dangerous and deserves our respect. Below are some things to keep in mind and precautions to take while using electricity.
If your school, group or organization would like to schedule an electrical safety demonstration, please contact our Member Services Department.
Safety and Precautions
Check appliances and equipment for the label of a national testing laboratory, such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories). The UL mark means samples of the product met safety requirements.
Frequently check your electrical cords and appliances; replace any that you find to be worn or damaged.
Don’t use electronics near water. If you use electric appliances in your bathroom, garage, at an outdoor outlet, or anywhere there is the potential for water or moisture, plug into a GFCI—ground fault circuit interrupter. This small, inexpensive, life-saving device detects the smallest electric current leak and reacts by stopping the flow of electricity fast enough to prevent serious injury or death from electrical shock.
Never overload electrical outlets. Unplug appliances when not in use.
Turn off lights and appliances when leaving the house and going to bed.
Before starting any project that requires digging, call 811 to have utilities mark underground service lines. One wrong move can cause you and your neighbors to be cut off from vital services or cause death or injury to you from an electric shock or an explosion.
Electrical “backfeed” from a generator can injure or kill utility workers repairing power lines. For safety’s sake, hire a licensed electrician to install a transfer switch that distributes power from the generator to the home’s circuit box. For more information on generator safety, see the Generators section on the Outage Tips page.
Never climb trees near power lines. Wood can be a conductor of electricity if the right conditions exist.
Never fly a kite in stormy or wet weather. Fly kites and model airplanes away from power lines. If a string or wire becomes tangled in a power line, call PSREC to remove it. Do not try to remove anything from power lines yourself, you could be electrocuted.
A wooden power pole may seem like a great place to put up a sign, but it is dangerous to line workers who have to climb the pole — and it is illegal in many states. Staples, tacks or nails used to attach signs can trip a line worker, or pierce the worker’s safety equipment, possibly resulting in electrocution. They also prematurely damage poles.
Electricity is always trying to get to ground by the path of least resistance. Sometimes that path can be through you.
Stay away from downed power lines. Never touch a person or object that is touching a power line. Call 911.
If a power line has fallen on or near your car, stay in the car until help arrives. Tell others that may want to help to stay away and call for help. If you must leave the car because of fire or any other danger, you must JUMP as far as you can with both feet together. Electricity can travel through the ground from the line. The voltage becomes less the farther you are away, so if one foot is in a higher voltage zone than the other, you could become a conductor for electricity. That’s why you should shuffle or roll away. Don’t ever touch the ground and the car at the same time.
Winter storms can cause damage to electrical systems. Be aware of, and avoid service wires when removing snow and ice from your roof. Should you notice damage to wires or other electrical service equipment from sliding snow or tree branches contact PSREC immediately. Repair crews are on call around the clock to quickly and efficiently repair electrical hazards caused by storms.
Recognize and respect warning signs. Stay clear of substations and other high-voltage electrical equipment.