A Break from Cold Weather Does Not Mean a Break from Electrical Safety

Many parts of the country have been experiencing an unusually warm winter, causing many people to tackle outdoor projects. Milder weather has motivated many of us to work on chores in the yard or on the exterior of our homes. However, just because we are getting a break from cold weather does not mean we can take a break from safety.

“Look up and around you for overhead power lines. Take the time to become aware of your surroundings,” recommends Molly Hall, executive director of the Safe Electricity program. “It is a critical step to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.”

Safe Electricity encourages everyone to follow these guidelines when working outdoors this year:

· Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long tools like ladders and pruning poles. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that each year between 2000 and 2003, 17 people died from electrocution when a ladder came into contact with an electrical wire around the home. Be sure to lower your long equipment when you are moving it. Carry ladders and other long items horizontally whenever possible.
· Be careful when working on or around your roof, such as when installing rooftop antennas and satellite dishes, installing or cleaning gutters or doing repair work. Never go up on the roof in windy or bad weather.
· Be especially careful when working near electric lines attached to your house. Keep equipment and yourself at least 10 feet from lines.
· Never trim trees near power lines. Leave that chore to the professionals.
· Never use water or blower extensions to clean gutters near electric lines. Contact a professional maintenance contractor.
· Never climb trees near power lines. Even if the power lines are not touching the tree, they could come in contact when more weight is added to the branch.

For more information and to see videos about safety around power lines, visit SafeElectricity.org.

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