Electric Safety Tips

Electrical Emergencies

If you are experiencing a life threatening situation, call 911.

Electric emergencies don't often occur, but if they do, it is important to be ready. Knowing what to do in an emergency will help you and your family live better... and safer! Remember these tips:

  • If someone is being shocked by an electrical circuit or appliance, do not touch them directly. Either turn the power off, unplug the appliance, or remove the person from the electricity by using a non-conductive, dry material or item such as a leather belt, clothing, a towel, or rope.
  • If someone is in contact with an outdoor energized power line, stay at least 20 feet away from the area and do not attempt to remove the person or power line. Immediately call 911 in an emergency.
  • If you see a power line down, do not touch it, and keep at least 20 feet away from the area. Call United Power at 303-659-0551 or 1-800-468-8809.
  • Keep our telephone number, other utilities, and medical emergency telephone numbers readily accessible and make sure your entire household knows where this information is kept.

Power Lines

Power lines carry high voltage electricity and can be deadly. Always assume that utility lines are "live" - or energized - and keep far away from them. Be especially attentive after wind, ice, or heavy snow storms when wires may have fallen to the ground.

Never let children climb a utility pole, a tower, or a tree near power lines. Kites or balloons that contact power lines can cause shock or fire, so fly them away from overhead lines. NEVER play on, sit on, or climb on electrical equipment of any kind.

When carrying and using ladders and other long tools, keep them at least 10 feet away from all overhead lines - including any lines from the power pole to your home. Look up before raising a ladder or pole to verify that it will not be close to power lines when raised. Use a flashlight or lantern at night to help you see overhead power lines or other hazards.

If you happen to be in a vehicle and wires have fallen on or near it, stay in your vehicle and tell others not to touch the wires or the vehicle. Anyone on the ground who touches your vehicle could be in danger. If the vehicle is safe and is not on fire, stay in the vehicle until an emergency responder indicates it is safe to get out. If you must leave due to other hazards, jump clear of fallen lines. Don't touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Land with feet together and hop away with both legs together. Always call 911 in emergency situations.

Immediately report any fallen, low hanging, or smoking wires to United Power, the police, or fire department. United Power has dispatchers and line workers who are prepared and available 24 hours a day to help you.

Safety at Home

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 40,000 residential fires claim more than 350 lives annually. Electrical fires are most often attributed to problems with electric cords and plugs, lamps and light fixtures, and switches and outlets.

Help protect yourself and your family from electricity-related injuries.

  • Check your home electrical system for problems.
  • Avoid adding extra plugs in attachments which could overload outlets or extension cords.
  • Examine electrical cords to make sure they aren't frayed, damaged or placed under rugs or carpets.
  • Use recommended wattage light bulbs in light fixtures and lamps.
  • Consider installing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in areas that are exposed to water.
  • One of the most important precautions you can take is to regularly test your smoke detectors and to replace smoke detector batteries annually.
  • Always follow appropriate safety precautions and manufacturer's instructions.

Safety Outdoors

Safety outside of your home may be as simple as understanding where some likely dangers exist. Here are a few of the most dangerous and easily preventable scenarios:


Always assume that utility lines are "live" - or energized - and keep far away from them. Be especially attentive after wind, ice, or heavy snow storms when wires may have fallen to the ground.

Climbing/Playing on Electrical Equipment

Never let children climb a utility pole, a tower, or a tree near power lines. Kites or balloons that contact power lines can cause shock or fire, so fly them away from overhead lines. NEVER play on, sit on, or climb on electrical equipment of any kind.


Look up first! Ladders, regardless of what they're made of, can become electrified if brought into contact with overhead electric wires. Wooden and metal ladders can conduct electricity. Keep this in mind and use extra caution when you, or your contractor, are using a ladder while working outside around your home.


Colorado law requires underground utilities to be located BEFORE anyone digs. Whether you are a contractor working on a site or a homeowner working around your own home, please note: digging can be dangerous if you don't check first for underground wiring, cable or other underground utilities such as natural gas lines, water, or sewer lines.

Contact the Utility Notification Center of Colorado at 811 at least three days before you plan to dig and they will locate underground utilities on your property.

Power Tools

Don't use outdoor power tools - electric drill, hedge clipper, sander, electric mower - in the rain or while working with or on wet surfaces. Consider installing a ground fault interrupter on outside outlets.

Tree Work

Electric wires may be concealed in the trees or shrubs you want to trim. Before you trim trees or shrubs, inspect the area carefully to ensure that it's clear of wires.

United Power has the right, within public or private rights-of-way and easements, to trim trees and otherwise remove obstructions that are in violation of National Electrical Safety Code requirements, or that may prohibit safe, efficient operation, or restrict safe access to electrical facilities. Trees are routinely trimmed around United Power overhead electric distribution lines and, as required, or if requested by an individual property owner, around the service wires between the United Power pole and the customer's meter connection.

Please contact United Power at 303-659-0551 if you notice a tree which may be creating an electrical hazard.

Swimming Pools

Be sure electrical equipment for your swimming pool is grounded properly. If you're installing a pool, have it inspected by your town's electrical inspector when the job is completed. A ground fault interrupter should be installed on your pool's electrical equipment. If a fault occurs in the equipment, the interrupter will instantly cut the power, preventing a serious electric shock. Do not have any plug-in appliances near the pool.


Never construct a kite from wire or metal; always use paper or wood. That goes for the tail, too; it should only be made of dry string or cloth. Check your string or cord to make certain that it does not contain wire or carbon filament that is conductive. ALWAYS keep your kite away from electric power lines and choose a clear, dry day for kite flying. If your kite should get snagged in power lines or in a tree in which lines might be concealed, don't try to free it yourself. Call United Power at 303-659-0551 or 800-468-8809.

Antennas & Satellite Dishes

Before you work on a rooftop television or citizen's band radio antenna or install a satellite dish, be sure the area is clear of power lines. Install these devices where they won't touch or fall on electric lines.

Farm Safety

One of the most overlooked hazards on today's farms is the risk of electrocution. United Power urges farm workers to be especially aware of the dangers of using farm equipment near power lines.

  • Make sure that you, your family and any farm workers know the location of all overhead power lines. Map out and discuss ways to avoid them when moving equipment.
  • Know the height of all farm equipment and of nearby power lines. Never move equipment under a line if you are unsure of the clearance.
  • Avoid moving large machinery alone. Enlist someone to monitor you as you drive to prevent contact with overhead lines.
  • Take caution when lifting or moving irrigation pipe. The combination of metal irrigation pipe and high voltage electricity can be deadly.
  • Periodically check grounding rods and wires around buildings and power poles. These rods and wires can become damaged and broken. If damaged, the overall system will not provide adequate grounding protection.

Additional farm safety related websites:

Farm Safety Just for Kids
National Education Center for Agricultural Safety

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