Tackle Safety Before the Big Game

​Smart decisions and precautions are the best way to win over the electrical hazards that come with Sunday’s game.

January 26, 2015 | By Paul Netter

In a football game, a safety is worth two points. In life, safety is worth everything.

For that reason, fans of Sunday’s big game between Seattle and New England are urged to make sure electrical safety is in the lineup for their viewing parties.

Like the teams’ preparations, safety begins long before the game, particularly when installing satellite dishes or antennas on rooftops. Always check overhead clearance to power lines and maintain a distance equal to the height plus 10 feet to avoid personal contact with power lines.

“If you have any doubts at all about being clear of power lines or service drops, don’t hesitate to have a professional handle the installation,” said Don Neal, Southern California Edison (SCE) director of Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety. “Common sense and awareness is crucial around power lines. For instance, never install or remove antennas during Santa Ana or even moderate wind conditions because of the potential for them blowing into power lines.”

With an estimated 90 percent of viewers watching the big game from home, people should carefully calibrate their temporary uses, particularly with television sets, power outlets and extension cords, to avoid potential fire and shock dangers.

Outlets and extension cords should not be overloaded and large appliances — such as refrigerators and space heaters — should never be used with extension cords. Instead, arrange furniture so outlets are available to minimize the use of extension cords.

“People should also never try to extend the length of an extension cord by connecting it to another extension cord,” he said. “It’s popular to do so during parties and holidays, but the best approach is to own a cord that’s long enough for your needs.”

Neal also recommends not placing cords in pinched positions that can damage their insulation and not placing cords in high-traffic areas or under rugs because of the threat of trips and falls. Extension cords are a leading cause of electrical fires, causing an estimated 3,300 residential fires annually and killing and injuring more than 300 people, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Since the Sunday of the big game is the second-biggest day for food consumption after Thanksgiving, people should take every precaution when preparing their spreads. That means never leaving any stovetop cooking unattended since nearly two-thirds of home-cooking fires start on the stovetop, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Drinks also should be kept away from electrical appliances, which should be inspected before use for worn cords and plugged into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)-protected power outlets when used. And, all electrical items should bear the label of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which along with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Intertek (ETL) are trusted independent safety organizations.

“Even for the big game, we have to be careful about how we use electricity so our temporary connections do not pose a safety hazard,” said Neal. “No matter what team you cheer for, we should all be on the same team when it comes to safety.”


Topics: Safety