May is when we encourage customers like you to join us in getting ready for hurricane season, which blows in on June 1. It’s also National Electrical Safety Month, and we want to offer you some quick tips each week to help you and your loved ones stay safe around electricity.
WEEK 1: Power out after a storm?
We offer several ways to report an outage:
- Log in to tecoaccount.com to report your outage; or
- Visit tecoaccount.com/outage; or
- *Text OUT to 27079; or
- Call 877-588-1010.
*For new registrations, please have your 12-digit account number and 5-digit zip code available.
Hurricanes can knock out power lines and leave you with no electricity. If you own a portable generator, you’ll probably be dusting it off and putting it to use. Before you do, think safety! Every year people die in incidents related to portable generator use. Knowing how to use them safely is the key to preventing tragedy. Here are a few simple steps to follow while using a generator:
- NEVER use a generator inside, and that includes garages. Carbon monoxide can build up in deadly amounts.
- Generators can shock and electrocute, so never use one where it’s wet. Only operate generators outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area away from your home’s air intakes.
- Never connect generators to your utility service through receptacles, outlets, breakers, fuses or meter boxes. This could cause the power lines to become energized from the generator, posing a serious threat to TECO crews working to restore power.
Learn more about generator safety by visiting the Red Cross website.
WEEK 2: Play it safe outside
Touching a powerline can be dangerous, and even deadly. The most important rule to follow is to always work at a safe distance away from powerline – at least twenty feet away, depending on the voltage.
Some more outdoor tips:
- Before working on a ladder, trimming trees, painting or simply picking fruit, look up and see if there are powerlines nearby. You can be hurt or killed if something you’re holding or standing on contacts a powerline. Even nonmetallic ladders and equipment can conduct electricity.
- Have a spotter monitor the placement of ladders and equipment to ensure they remain at a safe distance when in use.
- Before you start any digging project, you need to know what might be buried underground. There are two simple and free ways to find out: call 811 or use Florida’s online service at sunshine811.com. They’ll notify us so we, and other utilities, can mark any lines, pipes or cables near where you’ll be working.
Learn more at Home Safety
WEEK 3: Where there’s heat, there can be fire
Electrical fires are easy to prevent if you take a few precautions. Help keep your home fire-safe with these tips:
- Never use an extension cord with a major appliance – it can easily overhead and start a fire. Only use extension cords for temporary purposes and never put a cord where it can be damaged or pinched, like under a rug.
- Check electrical cords on appliances often. Replace cracked, damaged or loose cords instead of trying to repair them.
- Don’t overload wall outlets, make sure to insert plugs fully into sockets and never force a three-prong cord into a two-slot outlet.
Learn more about how to stay safe, whether indoors or outdoors, at Home Safety
WEEK 4: Down and dangerous
Downed power lines can be deadly. ALWAYS assume a downed power line is energized and avoid going near it or anything in contact with it. If you see a downed line call 911 and Tampa Electric at 877-588-1010 immediately.
Here are great safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
- Downed power lines can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. Even more in wet conditions.
- Downed transmission lines require a clearance distance of 100 feet.
- Never drive over downed power lines or through water that is in contact with them
- Never try to move a downed power line. Even using items that typically are not conductive will not prevent injury or death
If a vehicle contacts a power line or utility pole stay away and call 911 and Tampa Electric at 877-588-1010 immediately.
- Consider all lines to be energized and dangerous
- Stay in place or inside your vehicle unless you see fire or smoke
- Warn others to stay at least 35 feet away
- Tell others not to approach the vehicle, downed lines, or anything that may be in contact with downed lines
In the event of fire or smoke
- Do not touch the ground and vehicle at the same time
- Jump from the vehicle with your feet together
- Shuffle a minimum of 30 feet away, avoid lifting your feet
Learn more about our efforts to keep our team members and customers safe by visiting our Safety homepage.