an ice storms aftermath

ESFI Offers Electrical Safety Tips for Severe Winter Weather

Communities across the United States are being devastated by severe winter weather conditions that are leaving thousands of people without power. The Midwest has recently become the latest region to be hit, as evidenced by the ongoing relief in response to the effects of a deadly weekend ice storm that cut power to more than 600,000 people in Kentucky.

"Consumers are encouraged to unplug or turn off all electric appliances -- from televisions and computers to electric ranges -- in the event of a power outage, in order to avoid a circuit overload when the power is restored," said Brett Brenner, president of the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). "Leave one single lamp turned on so you will know when your power is restored. Then, turn your other appliances and electrical devices on one at a time in order to avoid a surge that could potentially start a fire."

Hazardous conditions that threaten public safety, including electrical fires, high water, downed power lines, and carbon monoxide, have emerged in the aftermath of these snow and ice storms. "ESFI is reminding everyone about the importance of respecting the power of electricity in your homes and your communities," Brenner said. "By following basic guidelines for electrical safety in a variety of different circumstances, we can all help to ensure that our responses in any situation are guided by our emphasis on safety."

ESFI offers the following important electrical safety tips for severe winter weather hazards:

Post-Storm Safety Tips

• When re-entering your home after a storm, do so during daylight hours, when it is easier to avoid hazards, particularly if the electricity is off and you have no lights. 
• If you smell gas, notify emergency authorities and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe to do so.
• Watch for downed power lines outside your home. Keep your utility companies' phone lines open by only calling to report an emergency such as a downed power line.

Portable Generator and Electrical Equipment

• When power lines go down during a storm and cause electrical outages, portable generators are a popular alternative source of electricity; however, they also can be a source of danger. Take special care with portable electric generators, which can provide a good source of power, but if improperly installed or operated, can become deadly. 
• A primary hazard when using a generator is carbon monoxide poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust. Never operate a generator inside your home, basement or garage. Put generators outside, away from doors, windows and vents. 
• NEVER connect a portable generator directly to your home's wiring or into a regular household outlet. Power from generators can back feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including utility workers making repairs.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue