Power Line Safety
Accidentally contacting a power line can be dangerous and in some cases, even deadly. Your Touchstone Energy cooperative wants to help our members stay safe around power lines.
Keep a safe distance
Whether you are playing outdoors with your children or working on landscaping projects, keep a safe distance from power lines and other equipment your co-op uses to get electricity to your home.
Always remember to:
Stay away from power lines, meters, transformers and electrical boxes.
Don’t climb trees near power lines.
Never fly kites, remote control airplanes or balloons near power lines.
If you get something stuck in a power line, call your Touchstone Energy co-op to come get it.
Keep a safe distance from overhead power lines when working with ladders or installing objects such as antennas.
Never touch or go near a downed power line.
Don’t touch anything that may be touching a downed wire, such as a car.
Keep children and pets away.
If a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle. This is the safest place to stay. Warn people not to touch the car or the line. Call or ask someone to call the local cooperative and emergency services.
The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches on fire. Open the door. Do not step out of the car. You may receive a shock. Instead, jump free of the car so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground. Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 50 feet away, with both feet on the ground.
As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 or call your electric utility company's Service Center/Dispatch Office.
Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground.
Electrical Safety and Generators
Preventing Electrocutions Associated with Portable Generators Plugged Into Household Circuits
When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source such as a portable generator. If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in installation and start-up activities. The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.
When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the "off" position prior to starting the generator. This will prevent power lines from being inadvertently energized by backfeed electrical energy from the generators, and help protect utility line workers or other repair workers or people in neighboring buildings from possible electrocution. If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid, and energize power lines or electrical systems in other buildings to at or near their original voltage without the knowledge of utility or other workers.
Effects of Backfeed
The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk for electrical energy workers. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths. Following the safety guidelines below can reduce this risk.
Other Generator Hazards
Generator use is also a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Generators should only be used in well ventilated areas.
How to Operate a Portable Generator Safely
We may think we know all there is to know about the dangers of electrical mishaps, but there are still electrical safety rules to be strictly observed.
Here are some tips to help you maintain proper caution, to help keep you and your family safe around the house, and to avoid electrical fires and accidents:
If lights flicker or dim repeatedly, you should call an electrician.
Flickering or dimming lights signifies an overload and a professional should be contacted. Power outages due to power line accidents, strong wind, storms or extreme heat also can cause brief interruptions. You can call your power company to find out details on the situation. You also should call your electrician if you are constantly resetting circuit breakers or changing fuses, smell burning electricity or need to replace faulty wiring.
If you do lose power, turn off all appliances to prevent a circuit overload when electricity is restored.
Your house may temporarily lose power due to weather issues or even on hot summer days of high demand. If you experience an outage, it is important to turn off all of the appliances in your house to prevent a circuit overload or even another outage when the power is restored. You can leave one lamp on so that you'll know when the power is back.
Make it a habit to turn off electric appliances when not in use.
Before going to bed, make it a routine to check that all electric devices, such as computers, and game stations, not in use are properly shut off.
Never ever overload an outlet
Never overload an outlet socket. It’s a safe bet to always use just one plug in for every socket. Even if you are using the adapter make sure it’s the bar type that also has a fuse. The total output of all plugins in the adapter should be no more than the specified rating.
Just a little electrical knowledge can go a long way. Remember, when dealing with electrical issues in your home, safety should be your No. 1 priority.