Electrical Hazards & Accidents

Unless you are an Amish newspaper using a typeset press, at some-point in your job you use electricity.

Our cameras run off batteries, our batteries are charged with electricity in the office, studio or in our ENG trucks with a 12 Volt to 120 Volt converter. When the electricity fails, we use even bigger batteries or generators. Each poses its own hazards. Electricity is very unforgiving.


This is kind of scary, this link documents Live Trucks / ENG truck accidents.


The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) warns consumers to beware of electrical dangers associated with power outages, floods and severe storms.

By following key safety precautions when dealing with electricity during and after stormsand other disasters, you can help prevent death, injuries and property damage. Usethis electrical safety checklist from ESFI, and visitesfi.org for additional electrical safety tips and news.

Yellow check markFlooded Areas

Take care when stepping into a flooded area, and be aware that submerged outlets or electrical cords may energize the water, posing a potential lethal trap.

Yellow check markWet Electrical Equipment

Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. Water can damage the motors in electrical appliances such as furnaces, freezers, refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers.

A qualified service repair dealer should recondition electrical equipment that has been wet. For more information, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has produced a brochure, Guidelines for Handling Water Damaged Electrical Equipment, for use by suppliers, installers, inspectors, and users of electrical products to provide advice on the safe handling of electrical equipment that has been exposed to water. It outlines which items will require complete replacement or can be reconditioned by a trained professional. Equipment covered includes electrical distribution equipment, motor circuits, power equipment, transformers, wire, cable and flexible cords, wiring devices, GFCIs and surge protectors, lighting fixtures and ballasts, motors, electronic products including signaling, protection, communication systems, industrial controls, and cable trays.

The entire brochure has been incorporated into the Federal Emergency Management Agency�s manual, Principles and Practices for the Design and Construction of Flood Resistant Building Utility Systems, which is intended for developers, architects, engineers, builders, code officials, and homeowners who are involved in designing and constructing building utility systems for residential and nonresidential structures. The NEMA brochure may be downloaded free of charge at: www.nema.org/stds/water-damaged.cfm.

Yellow check markPortable Generators

Take special care with portable electric generators, which can provide a good source of power, but if improperly installed or operated, can become deadly.

Do not connect generators directly to household wiring. Power from generators can backfeed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including lineworkers making repairs. A qualified, licensed electrician should install your generator to ensure that it meets local electrical codes. Other tips include:

  • Make sure your generator is properly grounded.
  • Keep the generator dry.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator.
  • Make sure extension cords used with generators are rated for the load, and are free of cuts, worn insulation, and have three-pronged plugs.
  • Do not overload the generator.
  • Do not operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly, which can be deadly.
  • Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Portable GFCIs require no tools to install and are available at prices ranging from $12 to $30.

Yellow check markDowned Power Lines

These can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. The following tips can keep you safe around downed lines:

  • If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and anything touching it. The human body is a ready conductor of electricity.
  • The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage zone�and it could do that through your body.
  • If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
  • Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and then electrocute you.
  • Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
  • If you are in your car and it is in contact with the downed line, stay in your car. Tell others to stay away from your vehicle.
  • If you must leave your car because it�s on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with the live car and the ground at the same time. This way you avoid being the path of electricity from the car to the earth. Shuffle away from the car.
  • Do not drive over downed lines.


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