Electrical Safety

Electrical Fire

If you have an electrical fire, make sure everyone leaves the house. If the fire is small, call 911 right away. If you are confident that you may be able to extinguish the fire without the assistance of professional help, you may want to read the following guidelines:

  • Each home needs a Class C fire extinguisher on hand to help secure their family and home from unforeseen accidents that occur from time to time.
  • If the fire is contained to a small appliance, you may want to carefully unplug the appliance or turn off the electricity, but don’t touch the appliance.
  • Never put water on an electrical fire.
  • If the fire has affected your service entrance wiring or your meter, call Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative as soon as possible at (850) 265-3631 or (800) 568-3667. If you receive an automated message, please leave a message providing the location of the damaged wiring.

Electric Shock

When a victim is in contact with live, indoor electricity, you should never touch the victim or the appliance, wire, etc., causing the shock. Shut off the power, if possible, by turning off the circuit breaker or unplugging the fuse. If it isn’t possible, call our office.

When the victim is in contact with a live outdoor wire, please notify our offices at once and let us turn off the power.

If Someone Has Been Shocked Or Burned

  1. Tell an adult to pull the plug from the outlet or to turn off the power at the fuse box or circuit breaker.
  2. Call for help (usually 911). Tell them it is an electrical accident.
  3. When the victim is not in contact with the source of electricity, and you’re sure there is no danger, tell an adult to give first aid:
    • If the victim is not breathing, give CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
    • Loosen the victim’s clothing. Keep the victim warm and lying down until help arrives.
    • Don’t touch the burns, break blisters, or remove burned clothing. You cannot tell if there are electrical burns inside the body, so be sure the person is taken to a doctor.

In all cases of electrical shock, get medical help immediately. Call 911.

Downed Line

Never touch or approach a downed power line. Always assume a downed power line is live and dangerous! Call Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative immediately at (850) 265-3631 or (800) 568-3667. If you receive an automated message, please leave a message providing the location of the downed line. Then call 911 and report the line to them.

Electricity Takes The Easiest Path To The Ground

Stay out of Electricity’s Path: Electricity takes the easiest path to the ground. If you touch electricity (or something touching the electricity) and the ground at the same time, you become a path. Electricity will flow through you. You could be seriously or fatally injured.

  • Child safety — If small children are in your home, put safety covers on all electrical outlets that are within their reach. Keep appliances and cords up and out of the way.
  • Electrical fires — Keep anything flammable away from light bulbs, heaters, or toasters. Turn off appliances before you leave home. Install smoke detectors, keep a fire extinguisher on hand, and have a family fire escape plan.
  • GFCI’s — Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) shut off power in time to prevent serious shock. Use them in bathrooms, garages, near kitchen sinks, and outdoors. If your outlet has red and black “test” and “reset” buttons, it has a GFCI. Portable GFCI’s are also available.
  • Outlets — An overloaded outlet is a fire hazard. If your outlets are overloaded with many appliances, consider having a qualified electrician install additional outlets.
  • Appliance cords — Cord insulation keeps electricity in the wires, where it belongs. Regularly check appliance power cords and connections for wear; don’t use frayed or cracked cords.
  • Extension cords — Extension cords are for temporary indoor use. Keep them away from moisture, heat, or metal pipes. Never put them under rugs because they can become frayed or cracked without your being able to see the damage.
  • Bathroom — Electricity flows easily through water, so keep hair dryers, curling irons, electric razors, electric toothbrushes, and other appliances away from sinks, bathtubs, and wet hands. Install GFCI outlets in bathrooms.
  • Kitchen — Always unplug an appliance before cleaning it. Even if turned off, it can shock you. Use outlets with GFCI’s for appliances near sinks.
  • Backup generator — Never operate a home backup generator without a properly installed transfer switch that disconnects it from main power lines. A generator that remains connected to power lines can backfeed power into them, shocking unsuspecting utility workers.

Your Body Can Conduct Electricity! The human body is about 70% water, and electricity flows very easily through water. That’s why electricity can use your body as a path to the ground.