Play It Safe With Electricity
Electricity powers industry, provides entertainment, and makes many routine daily tasks possible. Unfortunately, people often forget that electricity can be dangerous — even deadly. Electricity always seeks the easiest path to the ground. If you touch equipment that is in contact with a power line, for instance, electricity can instantly pass through you, causing a potentially fatal shock. By using the safety guidelines below, you can avoid accidents and enjoy the many benefits of electricity.
The 10-Foot Rule
Always keep cranes, ladders, tree-pruners, TV antennas, and other equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. Depending on voltage, electricity can arc to equipment that's near a power line — even if it's not touching the line. Other important reminders:
- Never climb trees near power lines.
- Never climb utility poles or towers.
- Stay away from electric substation fences and equipment (they contain high voltage).
- Don't fly kites or model airplanes near power lines if these objects become entangled in a line, their strings can become a conductor of electricity.
Stay Calm, Stay Alive
If your equipment or vehicle comes in contact with a power line, don't panic. Assume the line is energized and stay in your vehicle unless you are in immediate danger from fire or a moving power line.
If you are forced to leave your vehicle, jump as far away from the vehicle as you can, landing with both feet together. Be sure that no part of your body touches the equipment and ground at the same time. Call 911 as soon as possible and don't return to the vehicle until emergency personnel say it's safe.
Downed Lines Can Be Deadly
Stay away from downed power lines and call OUC immediately at 407.823.9150 (in Orlando) or 407.892.2210 (in St. Cloud) to report any such problem. Assume the downed line is energized and never touch or try to move a downed line. If a co-worker comes in contact with a downed line, don't attempt a rescue. Wait until OUC and emergency personnel can respond.
Look Up First
Remember to look up when working near overhead power lines. If power lines may interfere with your work, call OUC at (407) 823-9150 at least two business days before beginning the job. OUC can explain the safest way to perform the work.
Call Before You Dig
Before beginning any excavation work, call Sunshine State One at 800.432.4770 to determine where underground pipes and electric lines are located. Law requires diggers to call this number at least two days before starting excavation, whether it's a project involving heavy equipment or a simple backyard landscaping job.
Other Important Safety Tips
- Never use an electric appliance in the tub, shower, or when standing on a wet surface.
- Never touch an electric cord or appliance while your hands are wet.
- Don't overload electric outlets with too many plugs.
- Avoid using extension cords, especially to connect a light or appliance permanently.
- If you have small children, cover wall outlets with plastic safety caps.
- Never insert a metal object into a toaster or other appliance.
- When replacing a burned-out fuse in your home's service panel or "circuit breaker box," shut off the main power switch first. Restore power after installing a new fuse of the correct rating.