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Electrical Safety at Home

These tips can help you stay safe around electricity:

  • Avoid overhead and underground power lines when you use a ladder, prune trees, clean a pool, work on the roof, carry long tools or pipes or dig in the yard.
  • Never touch a fallen line or anything in contact with it. Keep others away and call Cleco or 911.
  • Never attempt to climb transmission towers, utility poles or substation fences. Substations are fenced because they contain dangerous, high voltage parts.
  • Teach children to recognize "Danger-High Voltage" signs and to stay away from power lines, substations and pad-mounted transformers. (Pad-mounted transformers are encased in metal on slabs of concrete in areas where there is underground electrical wiring.)
  • Do not let children climb trees near power lines.
  • Electricity can travel down the strings of kites or balloons that become tangled in power lines, and this can cause shock or fire. These toys should be used in open areas, away from overhead power lines. If a toy becomes tangled in power lines or inside a substation, call the local electric company. Do not try to retrieve it.
  • Water and electricity do not mix. Keep appliances or anything with electrical current away from water. Do not use electric power tools in wet conditions.
  • Keep electrical cords away from children; cover outlets with protectors when you're not using them. Unplug small appliances when not in use. Don't leave cords dangling.
  • If you use extension cords, use those that are moisture proof and have good insulation. Your extension cord must be able to handle the current required by your household appliances or tools. If your cord feels hot, stop using it immediately.
  • Extension cords should not be used as a substitute for permanent wiring.
  • To reduce the risks of electric shock, make sure that Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection is provided for outlets at kitchen counters, in bathrooms and at outdoor receptacles. Test GFCIs monthly to make sure they are working properly.
  • Don't run cords under rugs or furniture or attach them to walls or baseboards with nails or staples.
  • Never overload an outlet or extension cord.
  • Check the wattage of all bulbs in light fixtures and lamps to make sure they are the correct wattage. Replace bulbs that have a higher wattage than recommended to prevent overheating that could lead to a fire.
  • Check to see that fuses are the correct size for the circuit. Replacing the proper size fuse with a larger size fuse can present a serious fire hazard.
  • When using an electric blanket, use caution. Tucking the blanket in or placing additional covering on top of it can cause excessive heat buildup and start a fire.
  • Sleeping with the heating pad on is also dangerous, as it can cause serious burns, even at relatively low settings.
  • Portable electric heaters should be kept at least three feet away from flammable materials such as bedding clothing, rugs and draperies.