By educating yourself on safe power practices at home, school, work or on the road, you will better prepare yourself to respond to electrical emergencies and help protect those around you. Please remember the following safety tips to prevent power related incidents from happening to you.
Household and Workplace Safety Tips
- Do not overload electrical outlets. This could cause a short circuit and possibly a fire.
- Ensure that the protective layer on all cords are free of cracks and damage. The outer coating on cords acts as protective layer to avoid contact with the bare wires which can electrocute you.
- Never remove the third prong from an electrical cord. The third prong is designed to ground the tool or appliance in order for you to use the product safely.
- Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.
- Pull the plug of an electrical appliance to remove it from an outlet, rather than tugging on the cord.
- Use a surge protector to protect electronic equipment.
- Hire a qualified electrician to complete electrical upgrades and repairs.
- Buy tools and household appliances that are approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or another accredited association.
- Never use electrical appliances and tools near water.
- Unplug a toaster before trying to get toast that is wedged in.
Vehicle Safety Tips
If you are in a motor vehicle accident involving obstructed power equipment like damaged power poles or downed power lines, always assume that the vehicle is energized with electricity even if it’s not sparking, smoking or buzzing.
If you are outside the vehicle
- Stay at least 10 meters or a bus-length away from the accident.
- Call the RCMP.
- Tell anyone in the vehicle to stay where they are.
- When QEC employees arrive, they will isolate and ground the damaged equipment to make it safe to remove the vehicle and passengers.
If you are inside the vehicle
- Safely drive out from under the power line or away from the source of electricity if you can. Ensure you are a bus length away (about 10 meters) from the accident before stopping.
- If you cannot safely drive the vehicle, stay where you are until help arrives. Unless there's a secondary emergency such as a fire in the vehicle - you're safer where you are.
If you absolutely must get out of the vehicle, remember you must not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time with any part of your body or clothing. You must:
- Remove any loose-fitting clothing like jackets or scarves.
- Use the handle to open the door to your vehicle, but don't touch the door itself.
- Stand at the opening of your door with your elbows tucked into your stomach and your hands held close to your chest.
- Jump out and away from the vehicle. Land with your feet together and don't stumble.
- Calmly shuffle with your feet together. Keep your feet touching as you shuffle. The heel of one foot should still be touching the toe of the other when you start moving the other leg.
- Keep shuffling until you are at least a bus-length away from the vehicle (about 10 meters).
- Call the RCMP.
Meter Safety Tips
QEC employees visit a multitude of businesses and residential customers on a regular basis. In order to accurately read electricity meters, perform necessary maintenance on power equipment and provide other QEC services, we ask the public for their assistance in keeping their home environments safe. By making your yard safe for QEC employees, you make it safe for yourself, family and friends.
- Clear obstructions around meters. This includes tools, equipment, and snow and ice buildup. If conductive materials become buried underneath the snow these items are potentially dangerous, especially if they cross the pathways to the meter.
- Ensure a clear path to the meter. Remove snow from stairs and overhead hanging ice buildup. If meter is located indoors, pathway to the meter should be clear of debris and clutter.
- Detain your dog. Your dog, no matter how friendly it may seem, needs to be leashed, detained or otherwise kept away when a QEC employee is on the premises. Even friendly dogs can become aggressive if they feel their territory is threatened. Leash the dog away from the meter if a QEC employee is in your yard to allow safe access to the meter. Please place your dog behind closed doors if a QEC employee requires indoor access to read the meter.
- Dogs are also not permitted to be leashed or tied to power poles. It compromises the safety of QEC employees and will have an impact on safe and timely response to power line emergencies.