- Never use electric appliances close to water.
- Walk through your home and search for potential electric hazards. Many hazards are easily identified and corrected.
- Never put items into electric outlets that are not intended for them.
- Do not connect power strips to power strips.
- Make sure electric outlets aren't overloaded.
- Check all electric and extension cords to make sure they aren't cracked, frayed, or covered by rugs or furniture.
- Use the correct wattage light bulb for lighting fixtures.
- Keep electric appliances away from damp or hot surfaces, and make sure they have appropriate air circulation.
- Signs of other potential hazards that should be examined by a qualified electrician include dim or flickering lights, arcs or sparks, sizzling or buzzing sounds from your electric systems, odors, switch plates hot to the touch, loose plugs and damaged insulation.
- Never use electric power tools in the rain or wet conditions.
- Electric lawnmowers should never be used when grass is wet.
- Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before use for frayed power cords, broken housings or broken plugs.
- When using tools or extension cords outdoors, make sure they are marked for outdoor use.
- Unplug all portable power tools when not in use. Don't leave power tools unattended, even briefly.
- Metal ladders conduct electricity. Be careful of overhead wires and power lines.
- Stay away from utility ground-level electric boxes and substations.
- If you see a downed power line, stay away from it and call Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative.
Accidentally contacting a power line can be dangerous and in some cases, even deadly. Fallen or disconnected power lines are dangerous. Never approach or touch them.
Always assume that a downed power line is powered on and follow these instructions:
- Avoid touching the fallen line by hand or with an object such as a pole, broom or stick.
- Avoid touching anything, such as a machine, object or device, or anyone in contact with a fallen power line.
- Keep children and pets away from power lines.
- Avoid driving over a downed power line.
- Call us immediately to report a fallen line.
Whether you are playing outdoors with your children or working on landscaping projects, keep a safe distance from power lines and other equipment your co-op uses to get electricity to your home.
Always remember to:
Stay away from power lines, meters, transformers and electrical boxes.
Don’t climb trees near power lines.
Never fly kites, remote control airplanes, drones or balloons near power lines.
If you get something stuck in a power line, call Heart of Texas Electric to get it.
Keep a safe distance from overhead power lines when working with ladders or installing objects such as antennas.
Never touch or go near a downed power line.
Don’t touch anything that may be touching a downed wire, such as a car.
Keep children and pets away.
If a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle. This is the safest place to stay. Warn people not to touch the car or the line. Call or ask someone to call the local cooperative.
The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches on fire. Open the door. Do not step out of the car. You may receive a shock. Instead, jump free of the car so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground. Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 50 feet away, with both feet on the ground.
As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 and call your electric utility company's Service Center/Dispatch Office.
Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground.
When the power is out, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source such as a portable generator. If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in installation and start-up activities. The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.
When using gasoline and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the "off" position prior to starting the generator. This will prevent power lines from being inadvertently energized by backfeed electrical energy from the generators, and help protect utility line workers or other repair workers or people in neighboring buildings from possible electrocution. If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid, and energize power lines or electrical systems in other buildings to at or near their original voltage without the knowledge of utility or other workers.
A common source of unintentional backfeeding is an electrical generator (typically a portable generator) that is improperly connected to a building electrical system. A properly installed electrical generator incorporates the use of a transfer switch or generator interlock kit to ensure the incoming electrical service line is disconnected when the generator is providing power to the building. In the absence (or improper usage) of a transfer switch, unintentional backfeeding may occur when the power provided by the electrical generator is able to flow over the electrical service line. Because an electrical transformer is capable of operating in both directions, electrical power generated from equipment on the consumer's premises can backfeed through the transformer and energize the distribution line to which the transformer is connected.
The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk for electrical energy workers and the general public. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths.
Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 or go to their state 811 center’s website a few business days before digging to request that the approximate location of buried utilities be marked with paint or flags so that you don’t unintentionally dig into an underground utility line.
811 protects you and your community! Hitting a buried line while digging can disrupt utility service, cost money to repair, or cause serious injury or death. Always contact your 811 center, wait the required time for utilities to respond to your request, and ensure that all utilities have responded to your request before putting a shovel in the ground.