Safety Tips During Power Outage
When you experience an interruption in power the first thing you should do is check your main switch or circuit panel to ensure that is not the problem. Additionally, it is a good practice to have a landline that works without electricity.
Once you have verified the problem isn't with the circuit panel, we offer these tips to keep you and your family safe:
- Avoid using candles, or anything with an open flame. This can become a potential fire hazard.
- Use battery-powered flashlights for light.
- During prolonged outages, unplug electrical appliances.
- Dress in layers to conserve body heat.
- To avoid a potential build-up of carbon monoxide, vent fueled space heaters adequately.
- Turn on electrical appliances gradually after power is restored.
Downed Power Lines
Do not touch a downed electrical line. Always treat it as if it were energized. Stay away from downed electrical lines and anything that they may be in contact with. Report downed lines immediately to Cleveland Public Power (CPP) or your local power company. If you are driving, stay in your vehicle until emergency crews arrive. Do not try to move anything touching downed electrical lines including tree limbs. Do not attempt to touch or move a person that has come in contact with a downed line as you may become a victim as well. Do not walk across flooded streets or areas that are in contact with downed electrical lines.
What to do in an emergency
In the event of an electrical fire:
- Make sure that your home and business have working smoke detectors. It is recommended that you replace the batteries of your smoke detector twice a year. A good rule is to change the batteries when you change your clocks due to Daylight Savings Time.
- Electrical fires can occur due to faulty appliances, circuit overload, frayed wires, and extension cords.
- If possible, call the Fire Department by dialing 911, informing them of an electrical fire. If time and circumstances permit, shut-off the main breaker. Do not enter your house if it’s on fire.
- Never fight an electrical fire with water. Use approved fire extinguishers to fight electrical fires, or leave the premises and wait for help to arrive.
What to do if someone is electrocuted
If someone is electrocuted, never touch them. You can be shocked if the equipment is still energized. Call 911 immediately! Shut-off the electricity, either at the appliance or the circuit breaker.
Seek medical attention immediately. Only perform first aid or CPR when the injured party has been removed and isolated from the electrical source.
Use of electrical equipment and other safety tips
Safe generator operations:
- Use emergency generators safely. Portable generators designed to supply power to a home or small business during an outage can be extremely dangerous if not used properly. Contact a licensed electrician before connecting an emergency generator to your home or business. Improperly installed generators may overload circuits, cause a fire, shock, or cause serious damage to your home or business.
- Generators connected to a home or business must be installed in a way that they do not back-feed to external electrical lines. If a generator is back-feeding onto the electrical circuit, repair crews restoring service can be seriously injured. A disconnect switch should be installed by a professional electrician.
- Before purchasing a generator, we recommend they are properly sized to the equipment that you intend to support. If they are too small, they can easily become overloaded and possibly start a fire or damage the equipment that they are powering.
- Equipment intended to be run off of a generator should be plugged directly into the generator with a heavy duty outdoor extension cord.
- Never operate generators in enclosed spaces as this may cause a carbon monoxide buildup. They must be placed and operated in well ventilated and dry locations.
Safety recommendations for outdoor activities
- When using poles or ladders, always be aware of overhead lines. Even wooden ladders can conduct electricity.
- Never use power tools in the rain or when the ground is wet.
- Keep televisions, radios, and other electrical devices away from swimming pools, spas and running garden hoses. Never build swimming pools, sheds, patios or spas under electrical lines or near an electrical right-of-way.
- Keep clear of fallen wires, they may be energized and extremely dangerous. Keep others away, especially children and pets. Report down wires immediately by calling CPP at (216) 664-3158.
- If a power line should fall on your car, stay inside and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. In the event of a car fire, jump clear without touching the car and ground at the same time. If it is necessary to move further away, keep both feet on the ground and shuffle clear of the danger area. Avoid touching wires or other objects that may be in contact with down wires.
- When using equipment and appliances outside, use cords and connections rated for outdoor service. Plug into outlets with a ground fault interrupter or GFI outlet. This will interrupt power flow if a fault or short circuit were to occur in order to prevent shock.
- A three wire waterproof cord should always be used with power tools for outdoor work. Always use power tools with three-pronged plugs.
- Teach children the basics of electrical safety. Warn them to stay away from fallen wires, substations, poles, transmission equipment, and all other electrical equipment. Teach them that when they encounter any electrical equipment that it should be assumed to be energized and therefore dangerous.
- Stay indoors during an electrical storm. You should turn-off televisions, computers and other appliances as an added precaution.
Safety recommendations for indoor activities
- Avoid using electrical appliances or equipment near water. Be especially careful in kitchens, bathrooms, swimming pools or spas. Any appliances located near a water source should be plugged into a ground fault interrupter or GFI. These will interrupt power flow if a fault or short circuit were to occur in order to prevent shock.
- Unplug appliances or equipment if you are repairing it. Some items, televisions, and computers, can still be an electrical hazard even when unplugged. These items have capacitors that retain an electrical charge after they are unplugged, as they are designed to store electricity. It is always best for a licensed professional to repair such items.
- You should periodically have an electrician inspect your home or business, especially if you plan to upgrade. Some newer appliances and equipment require a separate circuit. Always buy electrical equipment or appliances that have a UL-label on them. Use power tools with three-pronged plugs.
- A circuit breaker that frequently trips is usually a sign of trouble, it may be overloaded or faulty. If this is occurring, you should call a licensed electrician to inspect and troubleshoot the problem.
- Keep unused electrical outlets covered with plug-in covers. Teach your children not to play with electrical outlets.
- Turn off appliances when you leave the house or your business, small appliances should be unplugged when not in use.
- Electrical cords can be a tripping hazard, place them carefully to avoid injury. Warm electrical cords are a sign of overloading; ensure that before an appliance is plugged in with an electrical cord that it is properly rated. Brittle, cracked, or worn electrical cords should be discarded. Never run electrical cords under rugs, near heaters or water pipes.