General electricity safety tips

 Electricity, look around your home - it's everywhere. It provides you with heat, light and power. But how does it work and where does it come from?

Power plants create and produce energy using huge machines called generators. Electricity travels to substation transformers, which reduce the voltage for distribution to neighborhoods. Finally, pole transformers near your home reduce the voltage again to allow safe use in your home.

As appliances use energy, the electricity is drawn from the wires through the meter and then into the circuit in your home.

Electricity is the power that makes modern life convenient. It is also very dangerous if you don't use it in the right way. That's why you need to do the safe thing whenever you use electricity.

Putting in a plug for safe outlets.

Nobody overloads a circuit on purpose--it just kind of sneaks up on you. Then one day you've got a dangerous octopus in the room and you don't even know it. It's a potentially hazardous situation with a simple fix. Call an electrician to install more outlets, making the room safe and usable for modern families.

Be sure that wall outlets are in good repair. Plugs should fit securely into outlets. A loose-fitting wall outlet could cause overheating and possibly cause a fire. Call an electrician to inspect suspicious outlets.

Take a minute to check your electrical cords.

 Cords should be in good condition -- not frayed or cracked -- especially if you have pets. Electrical cords are covered with a special insulation made of non-conducting materials. If you plug in a damaged cord, it could give you a painful shock or worse.

Never use extension cords as permanent household wiring. Check extension cords frequently to make sure they are not overheating. Never nail or staple cords to walls. And never run cords under rugs -- this creates a fire hazard in your home.

Make sure to use the proper type of plug in each outlet. If you are using three-prong plugs in a room with two-prong outlets, never cut off the ground third pin or try to force a plug into an outlet. This could lead to an electrical shock hazard.

Safety from the ground up.

The nature of electricity is to find the easiest path to ground. See that fat, round third prong? It automatically makes an easier path to ground and prevents accidents. Never disable safety by cutting off the third prong.

Most modern appliances come with grounding plugs. Use them in three-prong outlets, especially around areas where moisture builds up, like cellars, garages and outdoors. Expensive electronics also need a three-prong outlet to protect them from power surges.

Every ten years, renew this inexpensive insurance...

One of the most crucial home safety devices is almost impossible to find. It doesn't move. It doesn't stand out. In fact, it doesn't do anything until there's a problem, one that's usually far, far away from your house.

This safety device is the electrical grounding wire. It prevents shock, fire and damage during a major power surge, such as a lightning strike on a substation.

Grounding wires run from your meter to underground rods or to copper water pipes. Grounding wires can become corroded or damaged. As your yard settles, your lawn mower may have hit a grounding connection without your even knowing it.

Grounding wires are inexpensive to replace. If your home is over ten years old, call an electrician to have your grounding wire checked or replaced.

Water and electricity never mix

Be sure to check that Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) are installed in your kitchen and bathroom outlets.

In compliance with the National Electric Code, GFCI outlets must be installed in any area where electricity and water may come into contact (such as basements, garages, outdoors). In case of an accident, the GFCI can cut off the power source in less than a second, preventing electrocution. Call an electrician to properly install GFCI outlets in your home.

Electricity outdoors

One of the most accident-prone areas of your home is actually outside your house. Working outside can be safe when you take the proper precautions.

It is important to use heavy-duty cords marked "For Outdoor Use." Be sure the amperage rating for extension cords is higher than the amperage rating for the tool. Check labels and owner's manuals for amperage ratings. Never use indoor equipment or extension cords outside.

When using outdoor equipment or power tools, use a three-prong plug. Convert all two-prong outlets by using a three-prong adapter with a ground tab.

Have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters installed in outdoor outlets and inside garages. They are the best protection between you and your power tool in the event of a mishap or contact with water.

Bangor Hydro recommends leaving a 36" cleared area around your meter. Consider this when planting shrubbery, stacking firewood or installing a propane tank. Keeping this clear ensures the safety of Bangor Hydro Electric employees.

Electricity always seeks the easiest path to the ground. Be exceptionally careful when moving ladders and overhead equipment outdoors.

Boaters can do the safe thing.

Ensure your safety by adding an electrical check to your list of boating precautions.

Stepping your mast or sailing anywhere near an overhead power line is dangerous. Take time to survey your marina and/or favorite launching area. Note any overhead wires and share the information with others. Make a habit of looking up to check for lines before moving or rigging your vessel. Check navigation charts for the location of submarine cables. Don't take the chance of disturbing these cables by anchoring your boat near them.

Teach kids to do the safe thing.

Education is the best defense to preventing electrical accidents with children. Teach children to recognize "Danger - High Voltage" signs and to stay away from power lines, substations and pole transformers. Never let children play near substations or climb trees near power lines.

Electricity can travel the string of a kite or balloon that contacts power lines, causing shock. Instruct children to play with these toys in open areas away from power lines. And keep metallic balloons inside. They are highly conductive.

Teach children never to put fingers or objects into an electrical outlet, toaster or any other appliance, even if it's off. Keep appliances away from children, bathtubs and sinks. Keep plug covers in all unused outlets.

Take responsibility for teaching your children about electrical safety.

Overhanging branches can be a problem down the line.

Cenored Pty Ltd maintains line safety. Working on our regular seven-year rotating tree maintenance schedule, Cenored Pty Ltd trims interfering tree limbs. Cenored Pty Ltd will also trim interfering limbs along the line from our pole to your home. If you believe you have interfering branches within two feet of a wire, call Cenored Pty Ltd for an inspection.

In a storm, a large tree branch could leave you in the dark. Sometimes a falling branch will break the line, causing it to dangle or fall to the ground. Never attempt to touch these lines. These "live" lines carry high voltage, and contact could lead to an electrical shock or fatality. Immediately report damaged or broken lines to Cenored Pty Ltd at 067 304 700.

Don’t get caught in the dark!

Plan ahead for storms and power outages. Keep flashlights with fresh batteries and a battery-powered radio handy. Don't forget to unplug major appliances, including computer equipment. When the power returns, electrical appliances need protection from surging voltage.

Store a good supply of clean water and use it sparingly. Fill pails and bathtubs for uses such as flushing the toilet. Stock your home with nonperishable foods that require little or no cooking. Remember it is never safe to use grills or camp stoves inside your house.

In the event of an outage in your home, check the neighborhood to see if all the homes are without lights or if it is just your home. If you see a downed power line, stay away. Don't touch it. Call Cenored Pty Ltd at 067 304 700 to report downed lines or other power emergencies and wait for utility workers to arrive.

Please understand that in a widespread outage it is impossible for us to get to everyone at once. A lot of people are working hard to restore power. They give first priority to hospitals, nursing homes, police, fire and other vital services. Stay tuned to an "Outage Alert" radio station for power restoration and safety updates.

Generators can be a safe option during power outages

An alternative source of power such as a generator should be installed by an electrician. Make sure the generator has a properly installed double-throw switch that keeps the generator isolated from the utility lines at all times. This protects your home as well as your lines.