Outdoor Electrical Safety - Central County Fire & Rescue

Outdoor Electrical Safety


You might be surprised to learn that electricity-related incidents in and outside the home cause approximately 300 electrocutions, 12,000 shock and burn injuries, and 150,000 fires each year.

Here are some of our insider tips for outdoor electrical safety.

Working outside your home? Make sure all tools, appliances, outlets and power cords are designed and rated for outdoor use. 

  • Make sure cords aren’t too long or too thing, and verify that they are rated for the proper amperage required by your tool or appliance. Failure to do so can eventually damage or destroy the motor, overload the cord and create an unsafe condition.
  • Check all power cords and extension cords for cracks or nicks before using them. Replace them if they show any sign of wear.
  • Don’t allow power cords or connections to become wet — trapped water can become energized and create a dangerous electrical hazard.
  • Never remove a grounding pin from a three-pronged plug. This defeats the proper grounding of the appliance, rendering it unsafe.
  • Make sure all outdoor outlets are equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI), which can prevent fires and electrocution. Your local hardware store can provide more information about how to install these.

Be smart during a storm! Lightning strikes in the U.S. approximately 20 million times each year.

  • Take shelter right away; if you can’t get inside, find a low area away from trees and crouch as close to the ground as you can get.
  • Avoid metal items such as golf clubs and baseball bats.
  • Get out of the water and stay out — even if it seems like the storm is still far away. Lightning travels quickly. 
  • Assume all downed wires are energized and steer clear; be sure to notify your local electric utility.

Remember that water and electricity don’t mix!

  • Never place a pool, hot tub or spa directly under power lines.
  • Avoid touching electricity-powered devices while wet or while standing in a wet area.
  • Keep electricity-powered devices away from water. If an appliance or device does happen to fall in, NEVER reach to retrieve it without first shutting off the circuit breaker and then unplugging the device.

Looking for more electrical safety tips? Check out these tips for avoiding electrical fires.