Outdoor Electrical Safety

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In 2013, fires caused about $9.5 million in damages. Summer is the season for most outdoor occasions, however outside elements can make electricity use outside dangerous. Here are some outdoor safety tips:

1. GFCI Protected Outlets:

It is important to make sure your outside outlets are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected. GFCIs protect against electrocution, however without approved weatherproof covers they are still subject to blowing rain and sprinkler damage. The covers protect the outlets from water intrusion, which is the main cause of their failure.

2. Outdoor extension cords

Extension cords rated for the outdoors are best for using multiple appliances outside. However, extension cords are not meant to stay outside for long periods of time, and a simple afternoon shower can make an extension cord dangerous to use. If you are using extension cords for the outdoors, they should be 3-prong plugs to ensure proper grounding and reduce the risk of fire or electrocution, and should only be plugged into GFCI protected outlets.

3. Outdoor Appliances

Appliances should be unplugged when not in use and should not come in contact with water. You should also never be wet when handling appliances. Use appliances that are battery powered if you are near water. If an appliance does get wet, unplug it and let it dry thoroughly.

4. Storms

If a storm does come while you are in a swimming pool or lake, get out, and stay away from windows and open doors.

5. Power Lines

Keep clear of all power lines. If you see a power line that is down, contact your local utility immediately. Don’t touch or move the line or anything that is in contact with it. Every wire on the ground should be seen as a threat to your safety.