As temperatures increase and sunny days abound, it is easy to be footloose and fancy free. As you spend more time outdoors, keep these safety tips in mind to have a great summer.
Pools and hot tubs
Before opening your pool or hot tub for the season, ensure there is ground fault circuit interrupter protection on underwater lighting circuits, as well as for lighting and outlets around pools, hot tubs, and spas. Have your pool's electrical system inspected. Faulty wiring can cause swimmers to experience electric shock drowning.
Boating and swimming
When boating or swimming, know that faulty wiring can cause the water to become energized. Never go swimming near boats plugged into shore power or near docks with an electrical source. Energized water can cause electric shock drowning.
During a storm
According to the National Lightning Safety Council, approximately 440 people are struck and killed by lightning each year.* Nearly two-thirds of the deaths occurred while enjoying outdoor leisure activities — 33% of the fatalities occurred during water-related activities such as boating, spending time on the beach, and swimming, while 14% happened during sporting activities such as fishing, soccer and running.
When angry clouds roll in, take them seriously. Have a weather app installed on your phone to inform you of weather alerts. Lightning can occur up to 10 miles away from the heart of the storm, so if you hear thunder, take cover. A watch means that conditions are likely for severe weather to develop; a warning means take action.
When flying drones, remote-controlled planes, toys, or kites, fly them in a wide-open area free from overhead power lines. If a toy or object gets stuck in an overhead power line, do not try to remove it. Instead, call your electric utility, and a crew will address the issue safely.
Ensure that overhead power lines do not run through or over a tree before your child starts to climb. Select trees that are in a wide-open space without overhead power lines nearby.
If kids are playing with a ball or other item that goes inside a substation fence, teach them to never touch or climb the fence to attempt to retrieve the item. Instead, call your electric utility to safely take care of it. The same precaution applies to a pet or animal inside the fenced area of a substation.
Although not an outdoor recreational activity per se, be careful with metallic balloons. If they are released (intentionally or accidentally) and get caught in a power line or other utility equipment, they can cause a major power outage. Additionally, be careful during a balloon release regardless of the type of balloon. Be sure to release balloons in wide-open areas far from overhead power and airports. And never touch the string of a balloon or kite caught in power lines or other electrical equipment.
For additional electrical safety tips, visit SafeElectricity.org.
* Analysis of lightning-related deaths in the U.S., 2006–2021
Article and images courtesy of SafeElectricity.org.