When it comes to safety around electricity, there can be no second guesses or second chances, says retired Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) employee Tony Spinelli.
Spinelli arrived at the recently to give a talk and demonstration on electrical safety to fourth and fifth graders.
"You are never too young to learn to respect electricity," said Spinelli. "It's always better to be safe and not sorry around electricity."
After explaining the short and sweet version of how electricity is made and how CL&P workers equip themselves for safety around electricity every day, Spinelli gave his most important tips for safety:
- Always assume a downed power line or wire is full of power and stay far away from it. Even if the line is not sparking or humming, it could still be carrying electricity. Don't touch the line or anything it is touching such as a nearby tree or a fence. Keep pets away from downed wires, too.
- When flying a kite, be aware of any nearby power lines. If you see one, let go of the kite string immediately.
- Water and electricity do not like each other so be very careful around bathtubs, sinks and pools.
- If you use extension cords, run them in places where they will not be damaged by moisture or heat. Never run them underneath rugs because they can overhead or become damaged.
- If a plugged-in appliance like a hairdryer or curling iron falls into the water, DO NOT reach in to get it out. Instead, have an adult turn off electricity at the circuit breaker or fuse box before unplugging the appliance.
- Be mindful of the use of powerful squirt guns around electricity and wires - again, water and electricity do not mix.
- If you are in a pool or lake and see lightening, get out of the water immediately.
- Never play around or try to open a transformer (big or small, green electrical power box) located on your property or a neighbor's property.
- When the power goes out (such as during Tropical Storm Irene) do not cook inside your home using charcoal as this could cause a dangerous build up of carbon monoxide. Several people in the state died of carbon monoxide poisoning during the aftermath of tropical storm Irene and the October snow storm when they lost electricity to their home.
- When climbing a tree, look up first to make sure there are no electrical wires near the tree.
- Electricity travels at the speed of sound so you cannot outrun it.
- Never put a metal object (such as a knife or fork or cooking utensil) in an plugged-in electrical product such as a toaster, toaster oven or blender.
- Call before you dig! Call 811 to check on buried electrical wires before you dig in your yard for a fence or mail box post.