Electrical Safety Around The House
Call 811 at least 48 hours before you plan to dig on your property for any reason. Whether you are planning to do it yourself or hire a professional, smart digging means calling 811 to locate underground utility lines in your work area. Bandera Electric will be contacted in order to locate primary power lines nearby. You must take advantage of this free service, as you could be liable for damages if underground facilities are affected by digging.
For more information or to submit your request online, visit the Texas 811 website.
- Outlets — Check for loose-fitting sockets and wiring, and replace missing or broken wall plates and housings — inside and out. Make sure you’re not overloading an outlet with too many plugs. And if you have young children, place safety covers on unused outlets.
- Appliances and other electrical devices — Check cords, plugs and connectors for any fraying, cracking or other damage. If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker or gives off an electrical shock, unplug it immediately. Do not use damaged appliances until you can have them fixed by a qualified repair shop. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs, on top of furniture or across any high-traffic areas. And never use nails or staples to secure cords to walls, floors or any other objects.
- Extension cords — These are not a permanent wiring solution. If an outlet is not located where you need one, hire a certified electrician to install a new outlet. For temporary use, make sure any extension cords you use have safety closures and keep them away from young children. Never use an indoor extension cord for outdoor use.
- Electrical panel — Make sure that all breakers and fuses are properly rated for the circuit they protect. When replacing a fuse, use the same size as the one that you are removing. It’s a good idea to hire a certified electrician to identify and label the correct size for each circuit.
- Light bulbs and fixtures — Be sure to use the proper wattage light bulb for each fixture. Each bulb should be screwed in securely to prevent overheating.
- Bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas — Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on all outlets in any wet area of the home. These inexpensive devices shut power off instantly if there’s a problem, and should be tested on a regular basis (using the test button installed in the outlet).
- Use extreme care around power lines. Before climbing a tree, check for overhead wires running near or through limbs. If lines are present do not climb the tree for any reason. Avoid the area when moving ladders, installing antennas or doing other activities involving tall objects. Keep kites, model airplanes and other toys away from power lines. If anything becomes tangled in wires, do not try to remove it.
- If you encounter a downed power line, do not approach it for any reason. Always assume that the line is energized and dangerous. Never touch an object that is in direct contact with a downed power line — including a car, tree, fence or another person. Electricity can travel through people as well as objects. If a line is down, warn others and contact BEC or law enforcement immediately
- Do not prune trees growing over or into overhead power lines. Long-handled pruning tools—especially metal tools—are extremely hazardous around power lines. Contact us if you need help.
- There are also millions of miles of buried utilities below ground, often in unexpected areas. A few days before any digging around your property, call 811 to prevent injury, property damage, service outages and potential fines and repair costs. It’s a free call.
Emergencies can strike at any time. Storms, fires, floods can cause extended power outages, downed lines and isolation … is your family ready? At Bandera Electric, we encourage our members to plug in cell phones as soon as possible before the storm hits and you lose power. With a charged cell phone, you will still be able to make calls and with a smart phone, you will be able to get regular updates from BEC social media, the online outage viewer, weather reports and local news.
In addition to preemptively charging your phone, it is recommended that you keep batteries, flashlights, a weather radio, bottled water, candles, lighters, canned goods and other non-perishable food items on hand for an emergency. More information for storm preparation tips can be found online at http://www.Ready.gov.
Many of our members rely on generators during storms or for other temporary or remote power needs. However, there are a number of hazards involved—including shocks and electrocution, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Please know the risks and proper safety procedures before using any portable generator
Drivers may come in contact with power poles or lines in an auto accident or during a storm. The vehicle or ground can become electrified and you or anybody else around runs the risk of electrocution.
In the event of fire, jump clear of the vehicle, making sure not to touch the car and the ground at the same time. Then, hop with both feet together to move farther away. Otherwise, follow these steps:
- As long as the vehicle is in contact with a line, do not step off.
- Call for help and wait until a utility professional says it’s safe to leave the vehicle.
- Warn others to stay away.
- If the equipment is operable and can be moved out of contact without doing additional damage to the line or poles, do so.
Learn more here.
BEC provides support for lost or endangered children and other neighbors in distress through our On Watch program.