National Electrical Safety Month brings timely safety reminders
Submitted by National Grid
The return of better weather has people heading outdoors for seasonal fun, projects and chores. May is National Electrical Safety Month, dedicated to safe practices in and around the home and workplace, and National Grid is using the opportunity to promote a special focus around electrical safety outdoors.
The easiest way to stay safe around electrical equipment is to stay away, whether it is the recommended 20 feet of clearance from overhead lines, or being mindful of where electrical services are attached to and enter a home.
National Grid offers the following reminders for outdoor safety:
•Use caution when using any ladder, pole or other extension around electrical services, especially overhead wires. Pay particular attention to the location of wires when moving ladders or poles.
•Before beginning your spring planting project, check with the experts at least two full working days in advance of digging to determine the precise location of underground lines and facilities. A simple phone call in upstate New York to Dig Safely New York Inc., at either 8-1-1 or 1-800-962-7962, can prevent personal injury, property damage and service interruptions caused by accidentally digging into electric, gas, telephone, water, sewer or cable facilities. Visit http://bcove.me/2jj1uovo to view a short video on the importance of calling 8-1-1.
•Don't use power tools (or any electric device) while standing on a damp floor or wet ground. Be sure equipment is properly grounded. If the power tool is damaged by contact with water, you could receive a fatal shock.
•Indoor extension cords are not safe to use outdoors. Before plugging in any extension cord, check to see if the insulation is cracked or frayed. If there is damage, replace it with a new cord.
•For an added measure of protection, install ground fault circuit interrupters on all outdoor electric outlets. They are designed to help to prevent shock injury.
•Before installing a new antenna, satellite dish or any rooftop appliance, be certain it is clear of all power lines. The antenna must be firmly secured to the roof and may require bracing with guy wires to withstand high winds. A metal antenna can form a deadly conduit for electric current if blown into a power line.
•Kites, model airplanes and other toys should be flown only in open fields, far from any trees and power lines. If a toy gets tangled in a tree or power line, the safest thing to do is leave it there. Don't fly toys on damp or rainy days. Wet string can conduct electricity. Don't use metal string or a kite that has metal in its construction. If it touches a power line, the life of the person holding it could be in danger.
•When sailing and fishing, be alert near shorelines, inlets and marinas for overhead lines that could come in contact with masts or antennae. Before casting fishing line, check for nearby electric lines.
•While outdoors, remember the coating you may see on overhead wires is intended to protect the wire from the weather. It will not protect you from electric shock. Overhead power lines carry very high voltages, so it's safest to assume all overhead wires are electric wires.
•Stay as far away from downed wires as possible. If you see a downed wire, immediately notify the fire department and National Grid.
Additional safety information for home and work is available at National Grid's website at https://www.nationalgridus.com/Upstate-NY-Home/Electrical-Safety. The Electrical Safety Foundation International, which promotes Electric Safety Month around the world, also has useful information at http://www.esfi.org.