At Saskatoon Light & Power, safety is our first priority. Our commitment to safety not only extends to our employees working on and around our extensive power lines, but to our residential and business customers who receive electricity from our distribution system and contractors who provide services on our behalf.
Saskatoon Light & Power, along with a number of other electrical utilities, partnered with the Canadian Electricity Association and the RCMP to produce Electricity the Invisible Killer.
Indoor Safety Tips
- Use appliances approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriters Laboratories Corporation (ULC). All safe electrical appliances have approved stickers or seals.
- Never use barbecues, portable generators, propane heaters or kerosene heaters indoors. These appliances create carbon monoxide, a deadly and odourless gas.
- Keep blow dryers, electric razors and other electrical appliances away from all sources of water including sinks, bathtubs and wet hands.
- Unplug appliances when cleaning them. Even if turned off, you can receive an electrical shock.
- Never insert a metal fork or knife into a toaster to remove a piece of bread. Metal conducts electricity and you could receive a shock. Unplug the toaster first.
- Replace blown fuses with new fuses of the same amperage. If a fuse repeatedly blows, consult a qualified electrician as soon as possible.
- When unplugging appliances, do not pull on the electrical cord as it can cause damage that could result in a possible short circuit.
- Ensure appliances are always well-maintained.
- Don't plug or unplug appliances with wet hands.
- Unplug your oven before cleaning it.
- Make sure the oven and stove elements are turned off and never store materials on the stove top.
- Appliance repairs should be done by a qualified person. If you attempt to make repairs, always unplug the appliance first.
- Never run cords under rugs or carpets. The cord could wear out and short circuit.
- Never use frayed or cracked cords. Cord insulation keeps electricity in the wires where it belongs. Regularly check power cords and connections for wear.
- Do not touch bare wires or electrical contacts unless the power has been disconnected.
- Use power bars with surge protection for stereos, entertainment systems and computers.
- Never remove a plug by pulling on the cord.
- Don't pick up tools or electrical appliances by cords.
- Don't rely on extension cords for permanent wiring.
- Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) in bathrooms, garages, near kitchen sinks and outdoors – anywhere the environment is wet or damp. GFCIs shut off power in time to prevent a serious shock. If your outlet has red and black "test" and "retest" buttons, it has a GFCI. Portable GFCIs are also available.
- If small children are in your home, put safety covers on outlets that are within their reach. Keep appliances and cords away from children.
- Never overload outlets. Wall sockets can only handle two plugs safely. Don't overload outlets by using an "octopus" (an outlet with several plugged-in cords) or splitters.
- Have a qualified electrician repair all faulty outlets, fixtures and appliances immediately.
- Never stick anything but a plug into an electrical outlet.
- In case of an electrical fire, NEVER use water. If possible and safe to do so, unplug the appliance or equipment. If the fire is small, use a fire extinguisher made for use with electrical fires. If the fire is not small, leave the house or area immediately. Call 911.
Outdoor Safety Tips
Each year in Canada there are more than 1,000 cases of people or equipment coming into contact with overhead or underground energized high voltage power lines.. In addition, electrical substations are routinely broken into. A contact or break-in may require a response from police, fire or EMS workers. Each contact or electrical substation break-in has the potential to place first responders at risk of serious injury or even death.
Some things to keep in mind around power lines:
- Keep a safe distance (at least 3.6 meters or 12 feet) between power lines and any equipment you are carrying, such as a ladder, etc.
- Do not attempt to trim trees that are touching power lines.
- Maintain a safe distance if you are pruning or cutting trees. Ensure the branch or tree can't touch or fall on a line.
- Install antennas well away from power lines.
- If a tree falls onto a line, stay at least 10 metres (33 feet) away from the tree. Stay away from other equipment that comes in contact with a line.
- The minimum safe distance from overhead lines varies because different types of lines carry different amounts of electricity. You can find out the voltage of power lines by contacting your electric utility.
–230,000 volts - 6.1 metres (20 feet)
–138,000 volts - 4.6 metres (15 feet)
–72,000 volts - 4.6 metres (15 feet)
–25,000 volts - 3.0 metres (9.8 feet)
–15,000 volts - 3.0 metres (9.8 feet)
–4,160 volts - 3.0 metres (9.8 feet)
–750 volts - 3.0 metres (9.8 feet)
- Never climb power poles, transmission towers or fences surrounding substations. Overhead wires and other tower equipment carry very high voltage electricity.
- Padmount Transformers (large green boxes found on lawns or back alleys) are sturdy metal cabinets containing transformers. Never sit on or near them and do not try to pry them open or dig around them. If you find one that is unlocked or damaged, call your electric utility immediately.
- When working with power tools, ensure that you select tools designed for outdoor use. They should have heavier wiring and be double-insulated or have three-prong grounded plugs.
- If you are in an accident and hit a power pole, if possible, stay inside the vehicle and wait for rescue workers. If fire or other danger forces you out, jump clear of any fallen lines without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Take care not to fall backward toward the vehicle or the lines. Land with your feet together and shuffle a long distance away.
Underground Power Lines
Call Before You Dig.
- Underground power lines can cause serious injury if hit while excavating. Some power lines are buried as little as one foot underground. Don't take a chance. Be sure you know where power lines are located before digging. If you are hiring a contractor, ask them if they have located the power lines.
- You should also contact other local utilities such as telephone and natural gas providers prior to excavating.
- Call 911 to report a fallen line.
- If you encounter a fallen power line, stay away and NEVER touch it. Electricity may still be flowing, or it may go from "dead" to "live" without warning. The flow of electricity does not stop just because the line is broken.
- If the fallen line is in contact with the ground or a piece of equipment, maintain a minimum clearance of 10 metres (33 feet) from the equipment, tree or downed line.
- Move away from the line and anything touching it. The human body conducts electricity. Shuffle away from the line with small steps, and keep your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for an electric shock.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch or attempt to move the person. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and then electrocute you. Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
If you are in a vehicle...
- If you're in a vehicle that is near a fallen power line, stay in the vehicle and try to drive away. You will not be able to know if the power line is live and passing electricity into the ground around your vehicle. Electricity can pass directly to your car, truck snowmobile or ATV, or it can pass through the ground to your vehicle.
- If you're in a vehicle that's touching a power line or is carrying something that's touching a power line, it can be safest to stay inside the vehicle. If there is no fire or other danger, stay in the vehicle. If the vehicle works, drive it 10 metres or 33 feet away from the line. If the engine is stalled and won't start, wait until emergency personnel tell you what to do.
- If your vehicle is on fire or there are other dangers, open the doors as wide as you can while keeping your feet inside. Then put both feet together at the end of the opening. Jump 2-3 feet clear of the car, truck, ATV or snowmobile with both feet together. Never touch the ground and the vehicle at the same time. Move 10 metres or 33 feet away by keeping both feet on the ground and shuffling your feet or by jumping with both feet together.
- Heavy rains or sudden thawing of snow often cause flooding in lowland areas, homes and basements. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity - even a thin layer of water can conduct electricity.
- Electrical appliances in the basement can shock you if your basement floods. Stay upstairs.
- Never step into a flooded basement or other room as the water may be in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords.
- Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you can't reach your breaker box safely, call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter.
- If an electrical appliance has been in contact with water, have a professional check it out before it is used. It may need to be repaired or replaced.
- Do not operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon dioxide very quickly, which can be deadly.
- Never connect generators directly to household wiring.
- Make sure your generator is properly grounded.
- Keep the generator dry.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator.
- Make sure extension cords used with generators are rated for the load, and are free of cuts, worn insulation, and have three- pronged plugs.
- Check the manufacturers rating to ensure you do not overload the generator.
- Stay away from substations which should have posted signs with phrases like"Danger-Keep Out" or "Warning-High Voltage". They contain high voltage electrical lines and equipment that could seriously injure or kill you.
- Never climb a substation fence.
- Fly kites, balloons or model airplanes away from power lines and substations.
- Never throw anything into a substation such as rocks or sticks.
- If you see a wire on the ground stay away.
- Maintain a safe distance from electrical utility equipment.
Electrical Safety Tips For Kids
Electricity allows us to do many things like operate computers and watch TV. But, if not used with care, electricity can be dangerous. Remember to always play it safe around electricity!
Stay away from power lines – This means overhead wires, wires you see on the ground, and wires that enter houses and buildings.
Stay away from downed power lines - Storms or accidents can sometimes cause power lines to fall to the ground. It's hard to tell whether a wire lying on the ground is carrying electricity. Stay away. If you spot a downed wire, call 911 and the local electric utility. Help keep others from getting near the downed wire until help arrives.
Never tug on cords – Disconnect appliances by tugging on the plug, not the cord.
Keep fingers away – Never touch the metal parts of a plug when connecting an appliance.
Keep appliances away from water - Keep blow dryers, radios, and all electrical appliances away from showers, sinks and bathtubs. When you're wet, your body is a good conductor for electricity. Make sure your hands are completely dry before you handle any electrical appliance.
Don't overload outlets – Don’t plug in too many appliances into one outlet. This could cause a short circuit and possibly a fire.
Don’t touch damaged cords -- Tell your parents about appliance cords you see that look frayed or damaged.
Stay away from high voltage areas -- Substations are fenced areas where huge power transformers sit. The electricity inside the transformers is extremely strong and dangerous. Substations are marked with DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE signs. Never climb or play around these areas. Report any broken locks on the surrounding gates.
Don’t let children play with, or near your electrical meter. It’s important that meters stay securely fastened at the point of installation. If the meter detaches from your home, call your electrical utility and don’t attempt to reattach it yourself.