Tips for Electricity Safety at Home

Safety Comes First

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, safety comes first. It’s our top priority in everything we do. Electricity can be dangerous, and when it comes to keeping your family safe at home, it’s smart to be aware of common hazards.

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More Helpful Reminders & Tips

To keep your family safe from electrical shock, use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in the kitchen, bathrooms, garages, and anyplace where electrical devices can come in contact with water. Other places to use GFCIs: around the swimming pool or spa, and where you use power tools and gardening equipment. GFCI outlets can sense unsafe electrical hazards and they automatically shut off power before a serious injury or
electrocution occurs.

To learn more about installing GFCI outlets, consult a qualified and licensed electrician.

Most of us use outlets and plugs every day. These common-sense tips are a good reminder.  

  • Grasp the plug, not the cord, to remove a power cord from an outlet
  • Never use nails or staples to attach a cord
  • Don’t kink, twist, bind, or walk on power cords
  • Check your appliances periodically to make sure cords are in good condition
  • Repair or replace cords that are damaged or brittle
  • Three-pronged plugs absolutely need that grounding pin – never try to remove it
  • Put plastic safety caps in all unused wall outlets
  • Select an extension cord that is properly rated for your intended use
  • Never overload extension cords or wall sockets
  • Choose extension cords that are certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as UL, CSA, or ETA

Water conducts electricity, and water that’s been in contact with electricity can be deadly. Remember:

  • Keep electrical appliances and power tools away from water
  • Never use electrical appliances in the shower or bath
  • Dry your hands thoroughly before reaching for anything powered by electricity

Are you familiar with your home’s electrical system? It's important to know how to reset the circuit breakers and replace fuses in case of power outage. Use extreme caution whenever you’re working on the electrical system, and if you are not confident about doing the job safely, contact a qualified, licensed electrician.

If the power’s still out after you turn the main switch back on, report it online or call us at 1-800-611-1911.

Water heaters must be braced, anchored, or strapped – it’s required by California law. To keep your family safe in an emergency and to comply with California’s safety requirements, have a qualified, licensed professional install an approved restraint kit. They’re available at your local home-improvement store.

When it comes to staying warm at home when it’s cold outside, portable space heaters can be an energy-efficient way to heat a specific room or space. Be sure to use your space heater safely.

  • Keep your space heater at least three feet away from curtains, drapes, furniture, rugs  – and anything combustible
  • Plug the space heater directly in to an outlet; don’t use an extension cord
  • Unplug the space heater when you’re not using it

The best way to put out an electrical fire is with a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have one, remember these tips.

  • Never throw water on an electrical fire – you could be electrocuted
  • Baking soda can be used to help extinguish an electrical fire
  • If there’s smoke, fire, or a strange odor coming from wires, appliances, or electric motors, turn off both the appliance and the circuit breaker’s or fuse box’s main switch
  • Call 911

If you need your portable generator to be wired directly to your home, notify us first at 1-800-655-4555 – it’s the law. Rely on only a qualified installer or licensed electrician to connect it.

Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which presents a danger to our repair crews.

When the holidays are near and it’s time to decorate, help your family enjoy the season safely.

  • If you find frayed cords or wires, broken fuses, or cracked light bulbs, throw away the strand and get a new one
  • Never use nails or staples to attach a string of lights or a cord
  • Choose extension cords that are certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as UL, CSA, or ETA
  • Don’t overload: limit yourself to three strands of lights per outlet
  • If your holiday tree is real, keep it well watered, and keep electric cords far away from the tree stand’s water pans
  • Lit candles are beautiful, but keep them far away from holiday trees and decorations
  • Unplug decorative lights when you leave home or go to bed

After the holidays, there’s a safer way to remove and store lights and decorations.

  • Unplug decorations, lights and extension cords before removing them
  • Don’t tug on electrical cords – there’s a risk of tearing the insulation and exposing wires
  • Outdoors, keep ladders, long-handled tools, and dangling light strands far away from overhead power lines, service drops, and pole-to-house connections
  • Follow manufacturers’ and your city’s directions for safely disposing of worn or broken lights and decorations