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Keep your Valentine safe this year.

If you celebrate with metallic balloons, remember to keep them tethered at all times and dispose of them properly. Proper handling and disposal keeps them from drifting into power lines and causing a power outage. When a metallic balloon touches a power line or floats into substation equipment, it can cause a surge of electricity that short circuits equipment and can lead to power outages, fires, and possible injuries. In the course of a year, it would not be surprising to find that metallic balloons that come into contact with overhead power line or substation equipment cause power outages that affect hundreds of thousands of electric consumers. To reduce these outages and help keep the lights on, keep the following tips in mind: Keep balloons tethered at all times and attached to a weight. When no longer in use, puncture and deflate the balloons before creatively reusing or disposing of them. If a balloon or another toy becomes entangled in an overhead Read More

Prepare a storm kit to help you get through a power outage.

Video Getting Through Until Power Gets Restored to You Severe storms are devastating to homes, properties, and lives. These storms can also take down power lines—creating a dangerous situation for all of us, including the linemen and linewomen working hard to get your power turned back on. How long it takes to get your power restored depends on the extent of the storm’s destruction, the number of outages, and when it becomes safe for utility personnel to get to the damaged areas. There are many steps in the assessment and restoration process—clearing downed power lines; ensuring public health and safety facilities are operational; checking power stations and transformers; repairing transmission lines, substations, and distribution lines; and getting power restored to customers within the various damaged areas. Be sure to contact your electric utility immediately to report the outage. Safe Electricity and its members want you to know how to stay safe and get through until power can be restored to Read More

Has your appliance become a hazard?

Safety and environmental considerations must be taken into account when disposing of old electrical household appliances. Computers, televisions, stereos, refrigerators, water heaters, and many other smaller electrical appliances are wonderful life-enhancing conveniences. But when the time comes to replace and dispose of them, they can become a dangerous nuisance and hazard if not discarded properly. Unfortunately, many second-hand unsafe appliances wind up in other people’s homes as electrical shock or fire hazards, or illegally dumped in ditches, back alleys, vacant lots or other places where they become serious safety and environmental hazards. Safe Electricity warns people to never attempt to use a malfunctioning or previously discarded electric appliance, and to beware of old appliances sold in flea markets and garage sales. Such appliances may pose a fire or electrocution hazard, and may be no ‘bargain’ in the long run. Managing the safe disposal of the vast amount of electrical appliances that wear out, become obsolete or damaged can be a Read More

Don’t Drive Distracted

The popularity of handheld devices has enhanced distracted driving problems on the road. Such activities like texting, talking on the phone, reading, and watching a video, take a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. It is a safety hazard to the driver, passengers, and bystanders, and there is a risk of an accident with a power pole. Whether you are involved in an auto accident with a power pole or you witness one, know the steps to take to keep yourself and others safe. In accidents with power poles, it is likely the pole and power lines may fall on your car or nearby, and the area around your car may become charged with electricity. If you step out of the car, your body would become the path to ground for the electricity, and electrocution could occur. The safest place is almost always inside the car. While downed lines can sometimes show they are live by arcing and Read More

Old Man Winter Hits Across the Country

Heavy accumulations of ice and snow coupled with fluctuating winter temperatures can bring down utility poles, trees and limbs with the ability to disrupt power for days on end. With this comes a threat to property and also to life itself. Utilities are devoted to restoring power to customers, but severe damage can take days or weeks to repair. Safe Electricity wants you to know how to stay safe and comfortable during winter power outages. Preparation for power outages begins before cold temperatures set in. You home should be properly insulated, with caulking and weather-striping around doors, windows, and other cracks. If you have trees with limbs that could fall on power lines, the limbs should be trimmed by a professional. You should also have an emergency kit ready to go. The kit should have flashlights, a radio, batteries, nonperishable food, water, medicines, and extra blankets. If you have done all this preparation, a winter power outage will be less Read More

Winter Increases the Potential for Power Line Accidents

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Staying Safe in a Car Accident with a Power Pole video Winter wonderlands are beautiful, but they can be a driving nightmare. Snow, slush, ice, and wind make it stressful and difficult to drive. These driving conditions also make it more likely that your car will skid off the road. Losing control of your car may seem like the worst-case scenario, but if you do not know what you are doing, the moments following an accident could potentially be more dangerous than the accident itself. In an accident, a car may slide off the road and into a power pole. The pole may fall down, lines may fall on your car or nearby, and the area around your car may become charged with electric energy. If you stepped out of the car in this scenario, your body would become the path to ground for the electricity, and you could be electrocuted. While downed lines can sometimes show they are live by Read More

Need A Break This Holiday Season? Give Your Energy Bill One Too! Copy

If you plan to spend time away from home this holiday, Safe Electricity has tips to lower your energy bill and keep your home safe while you are gone. Unplug some of your household appliances. Your house has many items that use electricity while plugged in, even when turned off. This is known as phantom power draw. Unplugging these items not only saves energy, but in some cases, can prevent fires in your absence. Appliances guilty of phantom power draw include: television sets, DVD players, VCRs, cable TV boxes, microwave ovens and toasters. Adjust the refrigerator control to a warmer setting. The fridge’s temperature can be as high as 40 degrees without spoiling food; the freezer can reach 5 degrees. On these settings, refrigerators use up to 40 percent less electricity. If you are going on an extended trip, consider emptying the fridge and turning it off (remember to leave the door open to prevent mildew). Set the thermostat higher Read More

If using a space heater to take the chill off, do so safely.

Electric space heaters can help quickly warm a room. However, they can be as dangerous as convenient if used improperly. Safe Electricity urges everyone in the home to understand the importance of using space heaters safely: Purchase only space heaters that have been safety tested and UL approved. Make sure the unit is equipped with an emergency tip-over shut-off feature and heating element guards. Read and follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for operation and care. Before using a space heater, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition. Check to make sure the heater is clean and in good condition, and have all problems professionally repaired. Place the heater out of high-traffic areas and on a level, hard, non-flammable floor surface—NOT on carpets, furniture or countertops. Space heaters have one purpose —to provide supplemental heating. Never use them to thaw pipes, cook food, or dry clothing or towels. Remember to keep space heaters at Read More

Add Safety to Your Holiday Traditions

For millions of people every year, the holiday season comes with traditions of festive lights and decorations, extraordinary foods and lavish parties. Add an extra measure of caring to your time-honored traditions. Make a point to take care of yourself and those you love by taking time to decorate safely—without skipping any safety steps. Shawn Miller knows firsthand how important every safety step is and how quickly this holiday activity can turn tragic. Each year, he would help his mother decorate her yard, and each year, the display grew as she added another area. That year, she decided to light the large trees in the far front. As Shawn tossed lights up into the trees, they came in contact with overhead power lines and he received a high voltage shock. He was hospitalized for months, went through numerous surgeries and lost his dominant hand. Miller and Safe Electricity urge everyone to follow these precautions: When decorating outside, look up and Read More

Safe Use of Generators

During a power outage, you may find yourself in the dark and unable to use your appliances for a period of time. A generator can provide temporary electricity that, depending on type, can power a few appliances or an entire building. While convenient during an outage, generators used improperly can also create safety hazards. Before investing in a generator, think first about your electrical needs and usage. Know the difference between standby and portable generators: Standby generators are wired directly into the home and can be sized to match the electrical demands of the home or building. A permanently installed standby generator must have an approved transfer safety switch to avoid feeding electricity back into the electrical system outdoors, creating what’s known as “backfeed.” Backfeed is dangerous for line workers as well as anyone who may be near downed power lines. Portable generators do not permanently attach to the home, and can power only the appliances that are plugged into Read More

Driving Safety Blog: When a Car Tangles with Power Lines

Defensive driving requires education and constant awareness of circumstances. Driving during winter months is especially tricky. Snow, ice and wind create the potential for additional hazards on the road. If your area is experiencing severe weather, venture out only when necessary.  Slick roads can cause loss of control, and power poles are struck in thousands of accidents each year.  Drive slowly when navigating icy roads and keep your eye out for signs of damaged electrical equipment like a downed power line. If you see a line down on the road, do not drive over it.  This could pull the pole and other equipment to the ground. Turn back and call 9-1-1. In the event of an accident with a power pole, the safest place is inside your vehicle. Stay inside your car and call 9-1-1 right away. Although your first instinct may be to get out if you can, this could be a deadly mistake.  Stay in the car until the electric utility arrives Read More

Hurricane Safety Tips

Both during and after a hurricane, those living in the area of impact are exposed to an enormous amount of risks. The most effective way to stay safe is to be prepared. Check forecasts regularly and alert your loved ones if a storm is heading your way. Familiarize yourself with how your area reports and responds to disaster conditions so that you can respond effectively in the event of a disaster. Make yourself aware of community-specific evacuation plans in your area. Keep a list of emergency contacts where it is easily accessible. On this list, include your local utility company. By investing in a NOAA weather radio, you’ll be able to stay up-to-date with changes in the weather, even if power has been lost. Prepare an emergency kit where it is easy accessible, containing items such as water, food, and a first aid kit. Keep enough food on hand for between three and seven days. The best types of foods are non-perishable, packaged, or canned. Access to water in Read More