ELKO — Electricity provides the power to run the electronic devices and appliances that are part of our daily lives. But when it’s not handled safely, electricity can be dangerous.
The tiny amount of energy required for a nightlight, about 12 watts, is enough to cause a fatal injury, according to Rich Brzezicki, team leader for gas and electric safety at NV Energy.
Brzezicki and his team are responsible for ensuring the employees at NV Energy’s northern Nevada locations are working safely while they maintain and operate the wide array of equipment used to deliver energy to customers throughout northern Nevada. In addition, they provide safety training for local contractors who often work near power lines and gas mains and offer safety information to the public at community events.
Here are a few of Brzezicki’s top electrical safety recommendations for residential customers:
• Don’t overload electrical outlets with cords, adapters or power strips. If outlets feel warm, fuses blow or circuit breakers trip frequently, or if lights are flickering or dimming, have additional outlets or circuits installed by a licensed contractor.
• Extension cords are for temporary use. Purchase cords with the correct gauge wire and length for the equipment you are using. Don’t run cords underneath carpets or furniture, and discard cords with frayed insulation or missing prongs.
• Don’t attempt to prune trees near power lines because you’ll be risking electrocution, and children shouldn’t be permitted to climb in trees near lines. If you have branches that are too close to power lines, submit a tree trimming request to NV Energy by calling 775-834-4100 or through the company’s website, www.nvenergy.com.
• Keep all electrical appliances away from bathtubs and showers, sinks, pools and wet hands. And remember that appliances generate heat. Make sure there are several inches of clearance around appliances and keep combustible materials away from the heat produced by them.
• Always replace light bulbs with the light fixture or lamp in the “off” position or unplugged, and replace bulbs only with the correct type and wattage bulb that doesn’t exceed the wattage specified on the fixture or lamp.
• If you have underground electric or natural gas service and plan on digging near your service call 8-1-1, the national Call Before You Dig underground utilities location service. They’ll send someone to locate the service prior to the project so you can avoid damaging the service or injuring yourself if you make contact with an energized electric cable or puncture a natural gas line.