Backyard Electrical Safety: Electrical Tips for Summer
Summer’s here, which means balmy and hot weather, pool parties, barbecues, and vacation. If you are planning on hosting an outdoor party, doing outdoor DIY projects, and other outdoor activities, following these tips will help you keep your family and home away from harm.
Backyard Electrical Safety Tips for Summer
- Test GFCI outlets outdoors before any party and once every 30 days. GFCI outlets are a required safety device for all outdoor outlets. They will shut off power automatically when the outlet detects an electricity “leak,” most often due to contact with water.
- If you need extra outlets and are using extension cords, you can help protect your cords from water with a temporary extension cord protector. Slit an opening on each side of a Tupperware container and close the lid to keep your plugs dry (Family Handyman).
- When purchasing your outdoor extension cords, always make sure they are marked “for outdoor us.” These devices may be more expensive, but they are thicker, weather-resistant, and designed to withstand more wear and tear.
- When working near electrical wiring, do NOT use metal ladders. Opt for wooden or fiberglass ladders instead.
- Although it may seem obvious, do NOT use electric grills when it it is raining or drizzling outside. As with every other outdoor electrical device, make sure it is plugged into a GFCI-protected outlet.
- If for any reason you need to dig a hole in your backyard, always call 811 before you dig. They will let you know if there are any underground utility services in the way or if you are safe to dig.
- Do NOT attempt to remove or trim trees near power lines. Your local municipality or utility company will take care of this for you. If tree limbs and branches are getting too close to your power lines, call 1-800-642-3780 with any questions or concerns.
- Stay away from electric substations. Never attempt to rescue a pet or animal that goes inside. Call your local utility or fire department for assistance.
- Always store electrical equipment indoors and never use corded power tools in wet or damp conditions. If you notice any frayed wires, exposed cords, or any other electrical damage, make the repair or replacement as soon as you can. Try to choose power tools with insulated grips.
- Make sure all electrical equipment used for swimming pools, including the cleaning equipment, is grounded.
- If you hear thunder or see lightning, seek shelter in a building or vehicle.
Summer Electrical Safety for Kids
- Instruct children to stay away from all utility lines, especially playing with a fallen line.
- NEVER play or hang around electric utility boxes or substations. If a toy gets stuck inside any substations, transmission equipment, or electrical equipment, forbid them from entering to retrieve the toy.
- Do NOT climb trees that are near power lines, even if the branches are touching. If the branches touch, you could end up electrocuted.
- Fly kites and toy planes far away from power lines and leave anything if it lands on a wire.
- Stay at least 40 feet away from all power lines and call 911 immediately. The ground can be energized up to 35 feet away or through any water that is in contact with a downed line.
- Summer showers can bring more than tempting puddles for kids to splash in, they can also leave electric hazards behind. Flooded areas are never safe spots to wade or play in, and may be in contact with energized electrical equipment or fallen power lines.
- Make sure children know how to read and recognize signs that read “high voltage,” “danger,” “keep out,” and “caution.”
- Teach children that they should alert the authorities to a downed power line or other potentially “live” electrical equipment and stay far away (at least 40 feet away).
- Stop playing outdoors if you see lightning or hear thunder.
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