May is a month to enjoy the flowers, soak up sunshine and cross those final tasks off your spring-cleaning checklist. Some of those jobs might require skills and equipment you don’t often use, so it’s a good time to brush up on electrical safety, especially considering May is National Electrical Safety Month!
If your to-do list takes you out in the yard, up a ladder or over to the power tools, keep these safety tips in mind:
Call 811 before digging. Before your shovel scoops up soil, call 811 to have your property marked. This free service will help you avoid contact with underground utility lines and could prevent a costly and dangerous mistake.
Never use electrical cords that are frayed or broken. Regularly inspect cords for damage.
Only use extension cords marked “for outdoor use” when working outside. Once the job is done, store extension cords indoors. Outdoor conditions can cause cords to deteriorate.
Never place a ladder within 10 feet of a power line. As an extra precaution, use a fiberglass or wooden ladder outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity.
Never leave heat-producing appliances unattended. Unplug devices like irons and hair straighteners before leaving a room.
Beware of downed power lines. If you see a fallen power line, move away from it and from anything touching it. Never drive over a downed power line.
Regularly test smoke detectors. They should be tested every month to ensure they are working properly.
Practice kitchen safety. When cooking, remember to keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces like your cooktop or toaster.