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Safety

Information for a safer community

Information for a safer community

Electrical Safety

Electricity has become an essential part of our lives and there are countless ways in which we benefit from the use of electrical power on a daily basis. Although electricity is readily available, and totally safe when used properly, it can also be dangerous when misused or abused. It is important that you follow some necessary safety precautions and as your power provider, North Bay Hydro has outlined some strict safety practices to ensure your safety. The following safety tips can be used to teach you and your children to always keep electrical safety in mind.

How Shocks Happen

Electricity always seeks the shortest path to the ground by finding a conductor, such as metal, wet wood, water – or your body! Your body is 70% water so if you touch an energized bare wire or faulty appliance while you are grounded, electricity will instantly pass through you to the ground, causing a harmful – or fatal – shock.

It Doesn’t Take Much

The amount of electricity used by one 7.5-watt Christmas tree bulb can kill you in a fraction of a second if it passes through your chest. Even if it isn’t fatal, electrical shock can easily cause serious falls, burns, cuts, or internal bleeding.

Generator Safety

  •  If you choose to utilize a portable generator, please take note of the following operational guidelines.
  • Know your equipment: Thoroughly read all operating and maintenance instructions before using any generator.
  • Turn main power switch in your home to the “off” position before operating generator.
  • Prioritize your electrical needs. Do not overload generator with excessive wattage; refer to your owner’s manual for specific limitations.
  • Plug appliances directly into generator itself. Do not attempt to wire your household electrical system into the generator. North Bay Hydro crews are put in extreme danger if your generator is feeding electricity back into lines that our crews have deactivated to restore power.
  • If direct wiring into generator is necessary, use only a licensed professional to perform this procedure.
  • Gasoline is highly flammable and causes harmful fumes. It must be stored in a safety-approved container. Do not attempt to fill your gas tank while generator is operating. Do not spill gasoline on hot gasoline components or yourself. Store gasoline container far out of the reach of children. Do not use candles or any other open flame near the generator or gasoline.
  • Provide adequate ventilation for toxic exhaust.
  • Provide a cooling air-flow for the machine as well.
  • Keep children as far away from the generator as possible – Teach them to stay away from the generator.

If Your Power Goes Out…

  • Disconnect appliances that will go on automatically when the power is restored. These include refrigerators, stoves, furnaces and water heaters.
  • Turn off appliances such as washers, dryers, computers and TV’s. Once power is restored, turn appliances back on one at a time to avoid a power surge.
  • If using candles or matches, be extremely careful.
  • Food will stay frozen between 36 and 48 hours in a fully-loaded freezer, 24 hours in a half-filled one. Try not to open the doors unless absolutely necessary.
  • In the winter, dress in layers and wear a hat.
  • Do not use barbeques, propane stoves, hibachis or any other fossil fuel device in a closed area for either heating or cooking the fumes are lethal.
  • Do not use generators unless you disconnect from the hydro system. You can damage the generator and kill people working on the lines!
  • Be aware that your pipes can freeze. Be prepared to drain them or leave a tap dripping depending on if you still have water pressure, the temperature and how long the power has been off and how much longer it is likely to be off.

Indoor Safety

To ensure highest safety standards, all electrical wiring should be installed by a licensed electrician and inspected by the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority). Your house or apartment could be inadequately wired if:

1.Lights dim and motors slow down when an appliance goes on.

2.Fuses blow or circuit breakers trip frequently.

3.Toasters or irons fail to heat properly.

4.The television picture shrinks. 

 

The following tips will help you ensure indoor electrical safety:

  • Turn main power off before replacing a fuse or adjusting circuit breakers.
  • Install outlets with a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) wherever water/moisture is nearby.
  • Never pull a plug out by the cord.
  • Regularly check wires, extension cords, and appliances for signs of wear.
  • Where appliances and power tools have three wires use three-pronged plugs.
  • Never touch appliances, wires, or electrical switches with wet hands or feet.
  • Turn television sets and other appliances off during lightning storms.
  • Smoke alarms are essential. They must be properly located, vacuumed and tested regularly.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher in your home – It should be checked every six months.
  • Use a class “C” all-purpose extinguisher on electrical fires. Never use water on an electrical fire.
  • Never place electrical cords across traffic areas or under carpets.
  • Be sure appliance and extension cords are not cracked or frayed.
  • Purchase only devices, appliances, electrical equipment or appliances that have been approved by CSA or have Ontario Hydro Special Approval stickers.
  • Don’t plug too many appliances into one outlet.
  • Never use any electrical appliance in the tub or shower.
  • If there are small children in your house, use plastic safety caps in unused outlets.
  • Never insert a metal object into an appliance without disconnecting the appliance.
  • Set your water heater at the “medium” setting to avoid burns. Always perform the “elbow test” before placing an infant in the tub.

 

Outdoor Safety

Please take note of the following operational guidelines when using outdoor electrical sources:

  • Only use extension cords and other electrical equipment designed for outdoor use and always keep the cords away from the cutting blades of saws, lawn mowers and other tools.
  • Install outdoor outlets with Ground Fault Interrupters (GFIs).
  • Before you install a rooftop antenna, be sure it is away from power lines. Locate antennas where they won’t touch or fall on electrical lines. Make sure roof antennas are grounded.
  • Electric power tools should not be used in the rain, on wet surfaces, or near a sprinkler or pool.
  • Whenever possible, use a wooden or fibreglass ladder for outdoor work. Aluminum ladders could be dangerous around electrical lines – stay away from the lines feeding power to your house.
  • Before you do any deep digging or drilling, be sure there are no underground utilities where you plan to work. Call 474-8100 for underground electric wire locates or 1-800-400-2255 for Centra Gas line locates.
  • STAY AWAY FROM DOWNED WIRES. Assume all downed wires are “live” and keep away from puddles and fences that are near the wires. Keep others away and have someone call 911 and the electric utility.
  • If a power line falls on the car you’re in, stay put until rescue or utility workers arrive. (It’s safe to use a cellular phone to call for help)
  • If someone is shocked, do not touch them! First unplug the appliance or turn off power at the control panel. If you can’t turn off the power, use a dry plastic or wooden broom handle to separate the victim from the power source. Call 911 for medical assistance.
  • Never build a swimming pool or other structure under the power line leading to your house.

Safety Tips For Children

Children are curious by nature and it is important that they know and understand the potential dangers of electricity. The following tips will help keep them informed, and more importantly, safe:

  •  Never climb utility poles, transmission towers, or fences around substations.
  • Never touch electrical outlets with your fingers or other objects.
  • Never play with electrical cords, wires or switches.
  • If you’re in the bathtub, shower, or standing on a wet floor, never touch anything electrical like a light switch or hairdryer.
  • When playing outdoors never play around electrical wires or equipment.
  • Stay away from areas marked DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE.
  • North Bay Hydro sponsors safety programs specially designed for school-aged children. Our educational demonstration board Hazard Hamlet is available to teach any audience about electrical safety and we also run periodic city-wide safety demonstrations for third to fifth graders. Educators within our service territory are encouraged to call and enquire about our services by calling North Bay Hydro at (705) 474-8100.
  • In the winter and especially after a winter of heavy snowfalls be careful on snow banks under power lines, they can get very close to live wires. Be careful around any electrical facilities, like substations, that become more easily accessible because of high snow banks.
  • Climb trees that are far away from power lines. Learn to look up to check for power lines before climbing trees.
  • Never throw objects at wires or utility poles.
  • Never poke wires or branches into electrical equipment boxes.

If you like to fly kites, remember these safety rules:

  • Fly kites only in dry weather and in open spaces, away from power lines.
  • Never use wire or metal in a kite.
  • If your kite gets caught in a power line, leave it there and call North Bay Hydro or your electric utility. (Tugging at it could pull live wires to the ground.)

Safety Links For Children