Electrical Safety Handbook

electrical safety handbook cover

Electricity is such an important and common part of our daily lives that we often forget how powerful and dangerous it can be when handled improperly or carelessly.

Unfortunately, improper use of electricity is the cause of many injuries and deaths each year, and sadly most of those are preventable. In fact, human error is the cause of over 80 percent of all electrocution deaths in Ontario.

It is also important to educate young children about the dangers of electricity, since over half of all electrical injuries in Ontario involve children under the age of 10.

However, electricity is safe when treated with care and respect.  Our Electrical Safety Handbook provides the straight facts about electricity and offers safety tips for your household.  We encourage you to download the handbook and prepare your family with the tools needed to practice safety first on a daily basis.

Download our Electrical Safety Handbook.


Downed Power Lines

downed power lines on street


  • High winds or accumulation of ice and/or snow can weigh down power lines and cause them to come down.
  • Downed wires should always be considered energized or "live", and extremely dangerous.
  • Do not approach or drive over a downed power line and do not touch anything it may be in contact with.
  • If a downed power line falls on a vehicle, passengers should stay in the vehicle until help arrives.
  • Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the dangers associated with power lines.

To report a downed wire, broken pole or any damage to our electricity system, please call Cornwall Electric: 613.932.0123

For more information see 24 Hour Emergency Service.


Make safety a tradition during the holiday season!

 christmas lights on trees
  • Check each holiday light string before using it. If you find a frayed cord or damaged plug or light socket, discard the string.
  • Use the correct lights for the job. Don't use outdoor lights indoors; they usually burn hotter than indoor lights. Also, do not use indoor lights outdoors because they may not be waterproof.
  • Never staple or nail through electrical wires and always keep a bulb in each socket.
  • Avoid overloading electrical circuits and connect lights to power strips with a built-in circuit breaker that has several outlets.
  • Remind children never to touch lights or plugs with wet hands. Remember to unplug indoor lights when going to bed.
  • Don't use extension cords that are frayed or have cracked insulation or damaged plugs. Extension cords can be a big help, but if not used properly they can lead to fires.
  • LED lights are safer - they remain cool regardless of how long they have been on, and they are more durable, with bulbs that are virtually indestructible.
  • Cutting a tree near power lines can be very dangerous. Make sure you look up to ensure there are no power lines contacting the tree before you begin cutting. Never attempt to remove a tree that has fallen into a power line. This action could result in serious injury, even death. 


Spring/Summer Safety

children playing with kite
  • Keep electric radios, TVs, clocks, barbecues, lights and other electrical appliances at least 3 metres from a pool and wet surfaces.
  • Appliances should not be used outdoors unless they are equipped with a heavy duty cord and 3 prong plug.
  • Swimming pools should be well away from hydro wires - you run the risk of hitting the wires with long-handled cleaning equipment.
  • All outdoor electrical outlets should be weatherproof and equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) - this is especially important in damp locations where more protection is necessary than a fuse or circuit breaker.
  • Make sure that trees where children play don't have wires passing through them. Don't climb in or build anything in a tree with wires running through it.
  • Check with your electric utility before you dig - underground cable is usually 0.5 to 1 metre below ground level. Make sure you know the location of buried electrical lines.
  • If installing an antenna, make sure there is plenty of space between it and overhead power lines - at least twice the length of the antenna so if it falls it will clear the overhead power lines.
  • Fly kites and model airplanes in an open field - not near power lines.
  • If you're outside during an electrical storm seek shelter. The best shelter is a house; jump in your vehicle; get in your golf cart; or, seek low ground. Sit or lie down - it may be uncomfortable, but it may save your life.
  • If a power line hits your car, stay inside unless the car catches fire. Then jump clear without touching metal and ground at the same time. Shuffle away keeping both feet on the ground.
  • If someone is touching a fallen power line, stay away. Don't rescue the victim - efforts to pull a shock victim away could make you a victim. Call for emergency help.
  • Watch overhead when boating. Masts, fishing poles, or tall radio antennae could contact overhead wires.
  • If an electrical fire starts at a wall outlet, pull the plug by the cord or turn off the main switch. Call the fire department. If the fire is small use your home C02 fire extinguisher. Never put water on an electrical fire.