Inside or outside, make sure you and everyone in your household practices these safety tips from SCE&G when it comes to electricity.
Downed Power Lines
Power lines that serve homes and businesses are not insulated like home appliance electrical cords. Remember the following:
- Don’t touch or go near a fallen wire, even if it’s not sparking or humming.
- Don’t touch anything that’s touching the wire, such as a car or tree limb.
- Electricity can pass through objects, people and animals to reach the ground, which can injure or kill you.
- Keep curious kids and pets away.
- Keep a minimum of 30 feet from these lines and anything in contact with them.
- To report a downed power line, call SCE&G immediately at 1-888-333-4465 (toll-free).
If you encounter passengers in a vehicle accident involving a utility pole:
- Don’t touch any passenger who may be in contact with a power line.
- Don’t touch anything that’s in contact with the vehicle.
- Don’t attempt to move the power line.
- Call 911 and SCE&G immediately.
- If a passenger who is not in contact with the power line is not breathing or has no pulse, call 911. If you are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), begin immediately.
- If a passenger finds it more dangerous to stay in the vehicle due to fire or other dangers and must exit the vehicle, jump clear of it without touching the vehicle and ground at the same time. Land with feet together and hop or shuffle away while still keeping both feet together.
- Don’t rely on rubber boots, raincoats, rubber gloves or ordinary wire cutters for protection.
Overhead Power Lines
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- Avoid contact with power lines by being aware of their location and keeping a distance of at least 10 feet between you and the power lines.
- Never fly a kite or a remote control plane near power lines. Choose a wide-open place. If your kite gets caught in a power line, LEAVE IT THERE. Ask the utility company to get it down.
- Beware of trees with power lines running through them. Trees contain enough moisture to conduct electricity. Touching a limb that’s in contact with a power line could cause injuries.
- Keep clear of power lines that cross lakes, ponds or other bodies of water. Water levels can fluctuate due to power generation and weather conditions, so it’s difficult to determine the exact clearance of these power lines.
- Be cautious when carrying swimming pool tools, long boards, metal pipes and ladders. Hitting an overhead power line with a pole could allow dangerous current to pass through the pole and result in injury to you.
Underground Electric Pad Mounted Transformers
- Keep away from transformers. They are generally green and mounted on concrete slabs, and are found where there are underground power lines.
- Never attempt to open the door of one of these transformers. If you find a door unlocked, call SCE&G immediately at 1-888-333-4465 (toll-free).
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Circuit Breakers & Fuses
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- If your home has circuit breakers, know how to reset them. After turning off or unplugging appliances on the circuit, push the switch firmly to the OFF position, then back to ON. If the overload is cleared, the electricity will come back on.
- To replace a blown fuse, turn off the appliances and lights you were using. Turn off the main switch on the fuse box. Check the fuses to find the blown fuse. Be sure to replace the blown fuse with the proper size, or you may cause a fire.
- If your circuit breakers trip off repeatedly, there could be a problem with the appliance(s) on that circuit. If the appliances are unplugged but the circuit breaker trips off again, call an electrician.
- If you continually replace fuses, reset circuit breakers, hear unusual buzzing sounds, see sparks or flickering lights, you may have a problem with the electrical wiring in your home. Contact a licensed electrical contractor to perform an inspection and make any necessary repairs.
- Always use the correct ampere rated fuses or circuit breakers. Incorrect amperage can cause power outages or fires in your home. If you do not know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the sizes to be used.
Power Cords & Outlets
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- Don't run electrical cords underneath rugs, carpets, or furniture. Walking on cords can break wiring and possibly cause a fire.
- Check appliances and electronics to make sure all cords are in good condition. Cords should not be frayed or cracked. Repair or replace damaged or brittle electrical cords.
- Insert and remove plugs by grasping the plug, not the cord.
- Never remove the third prong from a three-pronged plug. The third prong grounds electricity. Most power tools and major appliances have three prongs for safety. If you don't have three-hole outlets, adapters are available at your local hardware store or home supply center.
- Never overload outlets with too many lamps or appliances. Using multiple plug-in adapters or power strips could cause a fire. Find an empty socket or have more outlets installed by the electrician.
- Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to protect yourself from shock. These special outlets prevent electric shock by detecting electrical faults and shutting off electricity to the outlet when necessary. They are especially important in kitchens, bathrooms, and other places where water is present.
Appliance & Tool Safety
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- Never use any electric appliance in the tub or shower, or touch any cord or appliance with wet hands. Electricity can pass through you to the grounded plumbing fixtures in your home.
- Only use UL-listed appliances. This symbol shows that the product has been safety-tested.
- Keep space heaters away from flammable materials like curtains, rugs or newspapers and never hang clothes, blankets or items on or near your heater.