June is National Safety Month, and every year the National Safety Council uses this month to offer a wide variety of advice and tips for how you can live a safer and healthier life. Safety should always be a high priority when working with electricity, as electrical current can be deadly if mishandled or disrespected. Thus, learning how to properly use and behave around electrical power is vital for everyone of all ages. Young children should learn to use caution around electricity, while adults should learn how to properly work with it in the event they need to repair or maintain some part of their home (or deal with an electrical emergency).
Here are four valuable safety tips for National Safety Month
Always Shut Off the Breaker Before Working on an Electrical Device
Much the same way a light switch allows you to turn an electric lamp on or off, a circuit breaker is a sort-of safety switch that lets you turn the power to an entire group of outlets and fixtures on or off as well. Not only do they provide a crucial element of safety by automatically shutting off when excessive current runs through a particular circuit, but they also give you an easy way of turning off the power to one area of your home so you can work on electrical devices and lines without killing the power to your whole home at the same time.
However, accessing a breaker might not be as easy as you would like. The panel may be hidden in a difficult to reach area, or it might be outside. You might be tempted to just make a quick fix on an electrical outlet or switch without flipping off the breaker because it requires too much effort or it’s not worth investing the time for a fix that might only take a few seconds. However, one slip-up with live wires can cause serious injuries or even death. Do the right thing and make sure you always shut off your circuit breaker and confirm that the device you will be working on is unpowered before starting your work.
Never Handle a Downed Power Line
During severe weather, high winds, hail, and flying debris can cause suspended outdoor power lines to become unattached from their power poles and fall to the ground below. This is extremely dangerous—these lines typically carry thousands of volts of electricity, and can cause tremendous energy to anyone who touches one. If the line falls on your property, you might be tempted to try and move it away from you or your loved ones as soon as possible.
However, downed power lines are an emergency that should only be handled by those with proper safety equipment and intense training. If you encounter a downed power line, getting help is simple. This is actually considered an emergency, and thus you are encouraged to call 911 and report the downed line so public safety officers can be alerted. They will help keep the area clear of people until the electric company can send a team out to shut down the line and properly reattach it once again.
Stay Away from Tall Metal Structures During Thunderstorms
Atlanta is no stranger to intense thunderstorms, so it’s important to know what to do if you ever find yourself in one. Lightning carries millions of volts of electricity, and a strike can be fatal. Thus, you should do everything you can to reduce your chances of being struck, and that means knowing what to do if you ever find yourself in a thunderstorm.
Lightning is a form of static electricity, and that means it is looking for the fastest way to reach the ground. That means a tall, highly-conductive object makes a perfect conduit to travel through. Something like a golf club or umbrella could serve as exactly that. If you see lightning, put these objects away for the time being and go take shelter. Likewise, do your best to stay away from empty, open spaces where you will be the tallest thing around, and likewise stay away from tall structures that could serve as a lightning rod. For example, don’t take shelter under a tree, as the tree itself could be struck by lightning, causing injury.
Always Use Outdoor Rated Equipment in Outdoor Applications
Extension cords have become extremely affordable thanks to an influx of inexpensive options from overseas. However, not all cords are made equal. Because of lower-cost, lower-quality materials, many of these cords are not suitable for use in all applications, such as for outdoor use. Outdoor-rated extension cords are typically made from higher-quality plastics and rubber, and that means they’re less likely to accidentally be punctured or fray as a result of wear and tear or accident. They are also more capable of standing up to the rigors of outdoor use, meaning they can withstand heat, UV radiation, and other types of weather for much longer. Indoor-rated cords simply can’t do this, and that’s why you should never use one in an outdoor application.Happy National Safety Month from all of us here at Lightning Bug Electric! Give us a call at (404) 471-3847 to schedule a service appointment today.