Rapid City, SD – May. 12, 2023 – May is National Electric Safety Month and Black Hills Energy is reminding customers how to stay safe around electric equipment, appliances, and power lines. With these reminders, the company aims to reduce electrical related emergencies throughout South Dakota.
“Electricity is a major part of our everyday lives, keeping our lights on, charging our devices and serving up our morning coffee, so we want our customers to understand how to stay safe around it – inside and outside their homes,” said Marc Eyre at Black Hills Energy. “The safety of our customers, employees and the communities we service is our No.1 priority and National Electric Safety Month presents a great opportunity to share these important reminders.”
Here are several tips for electric safety in and around homes and businesses:
- Check your electric cords: Check your electric cords on a regular basis and replace any that are cracked or fraying, as exposed wires can lead to electric fires. Avoid using too many cords or running them across rooms and be careful to not plug too many devices into your electric outlets. Outlet overloads can trip an entire circuit and cause interruptions to your electric service.
- Be mindful with appliances: Never reach for or unplug an appliance or tool that has fallen into water; electricity can easily travel through water and then through you to the ground. Instead, turn the power off at the breaker before you try to unplug the appliance or remove it from the water. Keep indoor appliances, such as hair dryers, away from bathtubs, sinks and wet hands to protect yourself. When cleaning or repairing an appliance, unplug it, to reduce risk of shock and to avoid damage. One best practice is to unplug your appliances if you aren’t using them; this helps conserve energy.
- Use GFCIs for protection: A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) automatically shuts off power to the outlet when it senses a current imbalance, protecting you from electrical shock and preventing fires. GFCIs should be installed on all outlets, especially those near water sources such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages and outdoors. Outlets with a red and black "test" and "reset" button have GFCI protection. Plus, use outlet protectors to keep small kids and pets safe around outlets.
- Keep your home’s electrical system in good repair: If you notice flickering lights, sparks, non-functioning outlets, or need wiring repairs or upgrades, contact a licensed electrician.
- Stay away from downed power lines: Always assume any downed power line is energized, so never touch it and keep children and pets away! Do not try to rescue a person or pet in contact with a power line, as electricity can flow through them to you. If you see a fallen power line or someone has come in contact with a power line, call 911 and Black Hills Energy (888-890-5554) immediately.
- Be aware of outside power lines: Watch for overhead lines if you’re using a ladder, working on roofs, cutting trees or carrying long tools or loads. Keep yourself, your tools, and your equipment at least 10 feet away from overhead lines at all times. Plus, avoid planting trees underneath power lines or near utility equipment. Tree limbs and roots can cause safety hazards, electrical shock risk or service interruptions.
- Call before you dig: Always call 811 at least two days before you dig to have underground utility lines, pipes and cables marked. It’s free and keeps you and your family safe — it’s also the law.
For more information on how to stay safe around electric equipment, visit www.blackhillsenergy.com/safety.
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