SAN FRANCISCO, June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As California prepares to celebrate the start of summer, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is urging customers to be aware of summertime hazards that come with hot, dry weather and certain outdoor activities.
"For many of our customers, summer means vacations, cookouts and gatherings with friends and family," said Greg Kiraly, Senior Vice President, Electric Distribution Operations. "We urge our customers to use this time to focus on what's most important to them—their loved ones—and to always keep safety top of mind."
During summertime gatherings, PG&E urges customers to take a few moments to evaluate their surroundings and assess the risk of accidental contact with overhead or underground power lines. PG&E also encourages parents, teachers, care givers and community leaders to educate their children about electric hazards in and around the house.
PG&E offers this list of important summer and electric safety tips for customers:
- Drive Safely – Wires installed on utility poles carry electricity and, when wires are down, electricity can still flow through them. Be well rested and alert when driving. Make sure that passengers are buckled up before you start the car. Observe speed limits, follow the rules of the road and do not look at your cell phone. If you plan on drinking alcohol, appoint a designated driver who will not drink.
- Cook Safely – Always grill out in the open, away from overhead power lines, buildings, decks and low tree branches. To keep flames under control, never add charcoal starter fluid if the coals have already been ignited. Keep a fireproof pan under your grill to catch any falling ash or grease. You can also trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups, and always be ready to close the lid and turn off the grill in case of an emergency.
- Stay Cool – When temperatures are unusually high, avoid strenuous activities in hot, direct sunlight and drink plenty of water. Pay attention to your body. Muscle cramps, dizziness and nausea may be signs of a heat-related illness.
- "Look up and live!" – Use caution when lifting tall objects near overhead power lines around the house. Keep your body, arms, long handled tools, saws, ladders, pool tools, lumber and anything that reaches above your head at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
- Keep balloons, kites and toys like remote control aircraft away from overhead electric lines. Never attempt to retrieve any object that is caught in a power line. Leave it alone and contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem immediately.
- If you come across a downed electric line, always assume that it is energized and extremely dangerous. Never go near a damaged power line that dangles in the air or has fallen to the ground. Stay away, keep others away, and contact 911 and PG&E immediately.
- To prevent the risk of electrical shock, avoid overloading electrical outlets, power strips and extension cords with too many devices and appliances.
- Replace damaged electrical cords and equipment, or have them repaired by a qualified electrician or repair center to avoid the risk of electrical shock.
- Talk to children about the dangers of tampering with electrical outlets; childproof outlets with plastic protectors or covers in homes with young children, toddlers or infants.
- Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection on all electrical outlets located near water sources such as bathrooms, kitchens, fountains and swimming pools to reduce the risk of electrocution.
- Call toll-free 811 before you dig. If you are planting a tree or digging a hole for a fence post, call 811 at least two days ahead of time to avoid digging into electric or gas lines buried beneath the ground and disrupting service in your neighborhood. 811 is a free and easy service that notifies utilities to come to your home and mark the approximate location of their underground facilities in the excavation area.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.
SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)