Every May, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) launches a National Electrical Safety Month campaign to help promote electrical safety and provide educational resources. Here are three quick tips to raise your electrical safety awareness and help keep our community safe.
#1 - Keep your Mylar balloons secure.
Have you ever seen those trendy large and metallic number balloons that everyone gets for their birthday or graduation parties? Those are Mylar balloons! With graduation season already upon us, it is important to be aware of the damage these balloons can cause our community if not handled responsibly. Also known as foil or metallic balloons, they can be extremely dangerous to our community’s power lines and cause troublesome power outages.
Did you know that metallic balloons have caused more than 520 costly outages and 18 fire ignitions in the last five years alone? When these balloons are released into the sky, they are at risk of touching our power lines. If contact is made, this could result in power outages, electrical fires, and other hazards.
Hang on tight to your Mylar balloons! But really… try to keep them inside, securely tied, and puncture them before disposal.
#2 - Stay away from fallen power lines.
Never approach a fallen power line. The voltage of these electric lines is extremely dangerous and can severely hurt or even kill someone. Fallen lines, also known as downed lines, can also energize any physical objects they touch, such as plants or buildings. Never intentionally approach anyone or anything that is in contact with a fallen power line.
If you are driving and see a fallen power line, always try to safely avoid it. If you are in a vehicle that comes in contact with a fallen power line, the car and the ground around you may be energized. Dial 911 on your mobile phone or ask someone from afar for help. Stay inside your car until help arrives and warn others to stay away.
If you must leave the vehicle before help arrives, open the door carefully and jump clear without touching the vehicle. If you are touching both the car and the ground at the same time, electrocution may occur. Keep your feet together as much as possible and shuffle slowly as you walk away for at least 20 feet. Be careful not to fall back against the vehicle and make sure to avoid touching any wires on the ground.
Always stay clear of fallen power lines to the best of your ability.
#3 - Contact 811 before you dig.
Contact 811 before I dig? That’s right. Before you dig even a small hole to plant a tree or install your new mailbox, you need to know what lies beneath the surface. To prevent potential damage and service interruption in our community, always contact or call 811, a free service, before you dig to ensure no gas pipelines lie beneath the surface.
FAQ: What if I’m only digging a few inches? Digalert.org states that if you’re only digging a few inches deep and you are a homeowner working on your own property with no permit required, you do not need to contact 811. However, you are encouraged to submit a DigAlert ticket on their website.
This National Electrical Safety Month, and every day, we’re here to provide you with tips to help keep you and our community safe. For more information on these topics, head to sdge.com/safety.