Caution must be exercised when using outdoor electrical appliances, equipment and tools. Mother Nature’s own brand of electricity – lightning – is also a hazard everyone should steer clear of during thunderstorms. The following tips can help those operating outdoor electrical equipment stay safe:
- A qualified electrician should do all electrical work.
- Only lighting and power tools that have the label of an independent test laboratory should be used.
- Electrical tools should always be stored indoors.
- Outdoor electrical outlets must be protected with weatherproof covers and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
- Electrical equipment should never be operated on a wet surface or in the rain.
- One must never enter a flooded basement to turn off electricity or for any other reason. Instead, the local fire department should be contacted.
- Electrical tools must be kept away from children.
- The area around the electric meter and other electrical equipment needs to be kept clear.
- Lighting and extension cords should be checked for damage before using. Any damaged cords ought to be replaced right away.
- When using an electric lawn mower, hedge trimmer, weed eater, etc. the operators must keep the cord behind them and away from blades and moving parts.
- A professional tree cutting service should be contacted to trim branches that might fall on electric wiring.
- Wooden or fiberglass ladders should be used outside, and kept at least 3 meters away from power lines.
- A person or object in contact with a downed wire must not be touched. Downed wires should be reported to authorities immediately.
Last but not least, a very important reminder: everyone is strongly advised to call before digging on their property or a jobsite, to have underground utilities located and marked free of charge. The appropriate number to call for each province can be found at http://www.clickbeforeyoudig.com.