General Safety Tips

Stay safe at home

Your house may look cozy on the outside, but hidden dangers still lurk. What you don’t know can hurt you. Study these tips:

  • Don’t use a radio, hair dryer or other electrical appliance while you have water in the sink or the bathtub/shower. Remember, you should never touch anything powered by electricity when your hands are wet.
  • Stay out of the shower or bathtub during a thunderstorm. It’s not a myth—lightning really can strike your home’s plumbing and travel straight to you.
  •  When standing on a wet floor, don’t touch a switch or plug anything in, such as a toaster or a hair dryer.
  • Don’t overload outlets with lots of plugs and extension cords. Overloading can cause the insulation on the cord to overheat, melt, expose live wires and spark a fire.
  • Never unplug an appliance by the cord. Use the base of the plug instead.
  • Don’t stick foreign objects or your fingers in an outlet, socket or electrical appliance that’s plugged in. This one may seem obvious, but people still poke forks into toasters every day. That pesky piece of bread isn’t worth being electrocuted.
  • Never leave small appliances or space heaters running unattended. You may find a fire when you return.
  • Store cords away from walking areas so you don’t trip and fall.
  • Keep a flashlight handy to find your way in the dark if the power goes out.
  • Never leave paper, dishtowels or anything else flammable near an open flame on your stove. 
  • Don’t let children or pets play near a heater, furnace, water heater, stove or grill. 
  • Keep the area around your gas water heater or furnace clean and free of rags and flammable items, such as paint cans, spray cans and gasoline containers.  
  • Schedule regular maintenance on your gas appliances. 
  • Change your furnace filters regularly. 
  • Frequently inspect your grill for loose connections, which could cause a gas leak. 
  • Keep heaters free from any obstruction and away from flammable materials, such as curtains or clothing. 
  • Don’t allow children to light a gas grill without adult supervision. 
  • Before you leave the grill, make sure the gas is turned off. 
  • If you have a fireplace that operates through the use of a fireplace valve key, remove the key from your gas line valve after each use

Stay safe while outdoors

Whatever you do, remember this: Electricity constantly looks for a path to the ground, and that’s when it hurts you. Let’s say you’re moving a tall ladder and the top of it brushes an overhead line. What’s wrong with this picture? The line touches the ladder, the ladder touches you, and you touch the ground. Uh-oh. You just got shocked (or worse).

Don’t let that happen to you, and live by this advice when venturing outdoors:

  • Steer clear of transmission and power lines. Never use a ladder or place a TV antenna or satellite dish near overhead lines.
  • Don’t allow children to play near substations or transmission/power lines. They shouldn't climb trees near these lines either.
  • If you see a fallen power line, stay away. Immediately call 911 and CoServ at (844) 330-0762.
  • If a power line falls on or near your car, drive away if you can do so safely. If you can't, remain inside and call 911 and the power company right away. Don’t get out of the vehicle, and tell others they should not come closer. If you absolutely must leave the car because of fire or another danger, jump as far as you can with both feet together, then shuffle or roll away from the vehicle. (Here’s why: Electricity can travel through the ground from the line. The voltage lessens as you move farther away. But, if one foot is in a higher voltage zone than the other, you could become a conductor for electricity.) Don’t ever touch the car and the ground at the same time. That would make you the electrical path to the ground, and you could get severely injured or killed.
  • Never fly kites near power lines or in bad weather. Electricity or lightning can travel right down the string to you in order to get to the ground. Never use wire or any metal object on your kite, because they are strong conductors of electricity.
  • Don’t stay in a swimming pool or lake—or around trees and poles—in bad weather. You could get struck by lightning.
  • Always keep radios and other electrical appliances at least 10 feet away from swimming areas. If water splashes on them, they can conduct electricity through the water. Don’t touch or go near these appliances when you’re wet or standing in water.
  • Use electrical/extension cords outside only if they are manufactured for outdoor use. Check the packaging to be sure.
  • Never use electric power tools around water or in the rain. If someone nearby is using an electric mower or hedge trimmer, make sure you’re not watering the lawn or washing your car at the same time. Insulators on power cords don’t always work when wet.
  • Don’t touch electrical machinery like a vending machine if you’re standing in a puddle of water or in the rain.
  • Never touch electric wires or switches if they’re wet.
  • Don’t tamper with meters, transformer boxes or other electrical equipment around buildings.
  • Keep in mind that wire fences around some buildings and fields are electrified to protect the building, animals or crops. If you touch the wires, you may get shocked or injured.
  • Steer clear of anything labeled “high voltage.” Those two words should warn you to back off.
  • Call 811 before you dig deeper than 16 inches on your property. Your utilities will mark the locations of their underground lines for free, so you won’t accidentally strike one with your shovel or excavation equipment. Find out more about safe digging.