Using electricity safely
Every day we depend upon electricity to keep our lives running. Electricity powers our homes, offices and businesses. Electricity is an important part of our lives, but it can be dangerous, too. When used properly, electricity is a safe and convenient form of energy; but when used improperly, electricity can cause fires, shocks, injuries, and even death.
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- Power lines and facilities
It is best to assume all power lines are live, whether they are connected to your home, a utility pole or lying on the ground. Stay back and keep any equipment at least 10 feet away at all times. Obey the warning signs alerting you to the high voltage area and stay away. If something such as a ball, kite or other item goes inside the fence, call CenterPoint Energy at 800-227-1376.
- Ladders and high reach equipment
Never place ladders near power lines. When working on or near ladders, keep all tools, the ladder and anything you are carrying at least 10 feet from all power lines.
High reach equipment such as cranes, scaffolding and lifts should be kept away from power lines. Contact with a power line can cause electrocution or serious burns. When working near power lines, keep equipment at least 10 feet away from power lines. If using a crane, maintain a clearance of at least 20 feet from the lines. Consult osha.gov for clearances for all voltages.
Never allow anyone to climb trees near power lines. Hire a qualified contractor to trim trees near power lines. View more information about tree trimming policies and to determine the right tree for the right place when choosing trees to plant.
- Safe digging
Always call 8-1-1 before any digging project to have underground pipes and lines marked. It's free, it can save your life and it's the law. Visit Safe Digging for more information and to see requirements from your state.
What do you do when you see a downed power line?
Always keep yourself and others away from downed power lines. If you see a downed power line, call CenterPoint Energy at 800-227-1376 immediately and don't touch anything or anyone in contact with the power line. When a live wire touches the ground, electricity fans out in a pool, similar to when a pebble hits water, with the voltage decreasing as it travels from the center. You can be shocked when in this area. Call 911 if someone is in a vehicle that is touching a line. DO NOT approach or make contact with the person or vehicle. Wait for emergency responders to arrive.
If you are in a vehicle that comes in contact with a live electric line:
- Stay inside the vehicle and warn others to keep away
- Wait inside the vehicle until rescue personnel arrive
- If you have to get out of the vehicle because of a fire or other danger. Jump out so that you DO NOT touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Don't run—hop away keeping your feet together. Separating your feet can create two contact points with the ground and can result in a shock if the ground is energized by the wire