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Outdoor Electrical Safety

Outside_electrical_safetyPlenty of potential electrical hazards are found around your home and property. Keep these outdoor electrical safety tips in mind.

General tips

  • Protect outdoor electrical outlets with weatherproof covers and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
  • Never operate electrical equipment on a wet surface or in the rain.
  • Never enter a flooded basement to turn off electricity or for any other reason. First, call your local fire department, then call PSNH.

Electrical tools

  • If you plan to use an electric lawn mower, hedge trimmer, weed eater, etc. be sure to keep the cord behind you and away from blades and moving parts. Be careful not to cut or damage the cord. Tip: sling the cord over your shoulder or loop it in your hand. Cut away from the cord, not toward it.
  • Keep children away from the area where you are operating electric yard tools. This eliminates the possibility of them tripping or moving the cord in an avoidable accident.
  • Always unplug electrical equipment if you meet with an obstruction. Free obstructions only after you’ve disconnected power. Keep electrical tools unplugged when maintaining and repairing.
  • Keep tools in good operating condition and inspect their grounding connections frequently.
  • For specific electrical precautions, read manufacturers’ operating instructions.

Ladder safety

  • Keep ladders at least 10 feet from power lines, including all parts of your body and anything you are holding in your hands. This is called the “10-foot rule.”
  • Know where the power lines are located when carrying your ladder. Carry it in the horizontal position, parallel to the horizon, instead of upright where it could catch on overhead wires.
  • Make sure that, should the ladder fall from its upright position, it would clear any nearby electrical lines. Take extra care to “plant” or secure the ladder in place before you climb it.
  • When working with long items on a ladder, such as pipes, conduit, and gutters, be very careful not to place them where they could come into contact with energized wires. Remember the “10-foot rule.”

Swimming pool safety

  • Be sure all electrical equipment for your swimming pool is grounded properly. A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) should be installed on electrical equipment. Should a fault occur in the equipment, the GFCI instantly cuts the electrical power, preventing any serious electric shock from occurring.
  • Installing a new pool? When it’s complete, have it inspected by your town or city’s electrical inspector.
  • Do not use any plug-in devices near the pool.

Trees vs. power lines

  • Trees and tree limbs that interfere with power lines pose a major outage risk during storms. Learn more about PSNH’s efforts to reduce power outages and what factors to consider when planting trees and large shrubs around your home or business.

Stay clear of power lines

  • If you see a fallen or downed power line:
    • Call 911 and report it to the police
    • Call PSNH at 1-800-662-7764
  • Stay away from downed wires and fallen trees that could have wires caught in them.
  • Don’t touch anything or anyone that’s touching a downed wire.
  • If a downed wire is touching your vehicle, stay in your vehicle until help arrives, if possible.
  • If a downed wire is touching your vehicle and you must get out, follow these safety rules:
    • Jump clear, making sure you are not in contact with the car and the ground at the same time.
    • Shuffle, don’t run away.
  • Use extreme caution when trimming trees around power lines.
  • Never fly kites, balloons or other toys around power lines. Branches, kite and balloon strings conduct electricity.
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