Don’t be shocked – know how to stay safe around downed wires

We were lucky. January’s nor’easter resulted in minor damage compared to those in years past, and we’re relieved that none of our customers nor employees were injured during the storm. However, the threat of downed wires during any high wind event is still imminent and can pose life-threatening danger.

If you  see a downed wire in the aftermath of a storm, or are involved in an accident and a live wire falls on your car, do you know what to do?

If you see a downed wire:jan-2017-storm-3

  • Assume all downed wires are “live,” and still energized. Don’t touch any of the wires, including telephone and cable TV wires, which may be entangled with electric wires and must also be treated as live. Stay back at least 300 feet away (two pole spans).
  • Report the downed wire immediately. Call  911 or PSEG Long Island at 800-490-0075.
  • Never use water on an electric fire or wire.
  • Don’t touch another person who may have come into contact with a live wire, as it creates a path through which electricity can travel. Call 911 for help immediately.

    If a wire falls on your car: 

  • Call 911, and stay in your car until help arrives and the power is shut off by PSEG Long Island.
  • Only get out of your car if it is absolutely necessary due to fire or some other situation.  If you must get out because your car is on fire, jump as far away as possible with both feet together. Do not touch or lean back against the car. Do not jump out near the wires.  Once you clear the vehicle, shuffle or hop away with both feet on the ground at the same time. Taking regular steps with your feet separated can lead to shock or electrocution
  • Never run away from the car. Electricity forms rings of different voltages. Running may cause your legs to “bridge” current from a higher ring to a lower voltage ring.
  • If you’ve left the car, do not lean back, shut the car door or reach back for another occupant. If the car is energized, touching it could create a path to the ground for the electricity to flow.

Although we can’t prevent accidents from happening, we can make sure you know what to do in an emergency. These tips could save your life. For additional safety tips and more, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Safety tips for holiday lighting

Two Teenagers Hanging Fairy Lights In Tree

Decking the halls is an almost obligatory part of the holiday season – and what’s more festive than a home covered in twinkly lights and garland? But with wrapping paper, decorations and wires galore, an abundance of electrical lighting can be dangerous. Winter fires account for 30 percent of all home fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths occur during December, January and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association. With this in mind, we’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of tips to help you and your family enjoy all of the festivities safely.

Before hanging holiday lights:

It’s important to ensure the area you’re decorating is clean and rid of clutter before hanging any lights. In addition to home prep, use these tips to purchase new decorations and vet your old ones.

baby playing with led lights1. Choose epoxy-lensed LED lights. If you’re purchasing new lights, these are a great option for families with pets and young children who may be fascinated by shiny objects. The lights are cool to the touch and easy on your energy bill.

2. Check before hanging. If you’re using lights from previous years, check to make sure there are no exposed wires, damaged plugs, or other issues before hanging. Also, check to make sure lights are certified as safe to hang outside if that’s part of your home décor. Additionally, check any extension cords being used for outdoor lighting to ensure they are rated for all types of weather and heavy use.

3. Consider upgrading. Think twice about using old, electronic holiday decorations. These may not be up to current safety standards and unsafe for your home.

4. String strategically. Be sure that lights aren’t running underneath rugs or carpets. String lights in order to avoid these, and remember to never allow wires to run across doorways.

When decorating:

It’s tempting to use the arm of your couch as a step stool to hang that last string of lights above the couch – but don’t throw all caution to the wind when you’re decking the halls.

1. Use a ladder. Make sure all four legs are on the ground, and when possible, ask a family member or friend to hold the bottom. Avoid leaning over to hang lights. Instead, step off the ladder and re-position it to prevent falling.

2. Choose an area wisely. Don’t hang lights over anything that could be a fire hazard. Lampshades or existing lights should be off-limits.

3. Opt for insulated hooks. Hanging wires and lights with metal screws and tacks can become electrified otherwise.

4. Wait for the big reveal. Don’t plug in your lights until after they’re hung. If a bulb breaks, it will expose an energized wire.

While illuminated:Bright LED Christmas Lights

It’s easy to become mesmerized by bright lights and wintertime festivities. But before the sugar coma sets in from all the hot chocolate, remember the following:

1. Turn off lights when they’re not being used. Before falling asleep by the fire, be sure to shut off any holiday lights. Lights left on for too long could be potential fire hazards.

2. Limit extension cord plugs. Don’t plug in more than three sets of holiday lights to a single extension cord as it can overheat.

3.  Ignite carefully. If you’re lighting candles during the holiday, be sure the flame is far from anything that could catch fire, especially Christmas trees. Also, never leave candles burning when unattended.

Packing up:

After ringing in the New Year, use caution when boxing up your decorations.

1. Recycle. Use any leftover cardboard from holiday presents and packaging to wrap your lights around to avoid having to de-tangle next year.

2. Unplug. When you’re taking down lights, be sure there isn’t any electricity running through them.

3. Coil it up. Create a loop with your extension cord, wrapping excess cord in a circle and hang. This makes for safe storage with minimal wear-and-tear.

Have a bright, happy and safe holiday season! For more tips from PSEG Long Island, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.