SAN FRANCISCO, April 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is raising awareness about electrical hazards during National Electrical Safety Month, which occurs every May. The utility is helping customers avoid critical and sometimes fatal injuries from accidental contact with electric equipment by providing an easy-to-use top 10 list of important electric safety tips. Home Owner Associations, community groups, schools and youth groups are strongly urged to share these safety tips with their members and students.
"Electricity drives our economy and makes our lives better. However, it can be extremely dangerous, which is why awareness and knowledge of potential hazards is so important," said Geisha Williams, executive vice president of electric operations for PG&E. "The consequences of accidentally contacting a power line can be tragic and even fatal."
Before working or playing in areas where electric lines are located, PG&E urges customers to take a few moments to evaluate their surroundings and assess the risk of accidental contact with overhead or underground power lines. PG&E also encourages parents, teachers, care givers and community leaders to educate their children about electric hazards in and around the house.
PG&E offers this top 10 list of important electric safety tips for customers:
- "Look Up and Live!" – Use caution when lifting tall objects near overhead power lines around the house. Keep your body, arms, long handled tools, saws, ladders, pool tools, lumber and anything that reaches above your head at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
- Only qualified line safety workers should prune trees near power lines. Customers with concerns about trees growing too close to power lines should contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 for assistance.
- Keep balloons, kites and toys like remote control aircraft away from overhead electric lines. Never attempt to retrieve any object that is caught in a power line. Leave it alone and contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem immediately.
- Always assume any downed electric line is energized and extremely dangerous. Never go near a damaged power line that dangles in the air or has fallen to the ground. Stay away, keep others away, and contact 911 and PG&E immediately.
- When celebrating Mother's Day and high school and college graduation ceremonies with helium-filled metallic balloons, make sure they are secured to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away, or keep them indoors. To avoid the possibility of becoming entangled in power lines and causing power outages, never remove the weight and never release balloons outside.
- To prevent the risk of electrical shock, avoid overloading electrical outlets, power strips and extension cords with too many devices and appliances.
- Replace damaged electrical cords and equipment, or have them repaired by a qualified electrician or repair center to avoid the risk of electrical shock.
- Talk to children about the dangers of tampering with electrical outlets; childproof outlets with plastic protectors or covers in homes with young children, toddlers or infants.
- Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection on all electrical outlets located near water sources such as bathrooms, kitchens, fountains and swimming pools to reduce the risk of electrocution.
- Call toll-free 811 before you dig. If you are planting a tree or digging a hole for a fence post, call 811 at least two days ahead of time to avoid digging into electric or gas lines buried beneath the ground and disrupting service in your neighborhood. 811 is a free and easy service that notifies utilities to come to your home and mark the approximate location of their underground facilities in the excavation area.