These home safety tips can help you prevent disaster and keep your loved ones from harm.
Children will be curious, fuses will blow and from time to time, the power will go out. Make sure you’re doing all you can to protect everyone in your home from the potential dangers of electricity.
Around Your Home
Replace damaged or loose electric cords
Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets
If you have small children, install tamper-resistant outlets
Follow manufacturers’ instructions for plugging appliances into outlets
Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance in an outlet receptacle
Call a qualified electrician if:
An outlet feels warm
The fuse blow frequently or trip currents
The lights flicker or dim
Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in all indoor and outdoor outlets
Never plug a three-pronged appliance into a two-pronged outlet or extension cord
Have at least one working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm on each level of your home,especially near sleeping areas
Always keep a working fire extinguisher handy
During an outage keep a nearby light on so you’ll know when your electricity has been restored
Outside Your Home
Stay away from all downed and sagging wires—assume they’re “live” and deadly. Report them immediately by calling 800-477-5050 and call 9-1-1
Before cleaning up damaged trees or branches, make sure power lines aren’t touching them. Don’t attempt to remove limbs from power lines
Stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines and anything they may be touching
DO NOT touch the electric service mast or cable above the electric meter. Utility crews will reconnect the wires to the mast, but only after a licensed electrician has checked or repaired the pole or cable
If safe to do so, check on neighbors who may need special assistance such as the elderly, those with disabilities, or families with infants
If you leave the house, turn off the main breaker to reduce the chance of appliance damage
Keep your distance from our work crews so they can restore your power quickly and safely
It’s important to keep your home appliances safe long after the new shine wears off. There are things like changing the furnace filter or emptying your grill’s grease trap that anyone can forget to do, but these little things go a long way toward preventing serious leaks, burns and fires.
General Appliance Safety
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care and maintenance
Warn children not to play near gas appliances, especially fireplaces, stoves and ovens
Keep the area around your furnace and water heater clear of items that could block air circulation. Natural gas needs oxygen to burn properly
Keep paint, varnish, turpentine, glue, gasoline, cleaning fluids and other chemicals away from gas appliances to prevent possible ignition sources
Do not store paper and other flammable materials near your furnace or appliances
Central Air Conditioning Safety
Keep the area around the unit clear of leaves and debris that could block airflow
When planting shrubs, make sure you don’t block airflow to the unit
Have your central air conditioner checked by a qualified contractor once a year
Always vent the dryer to the outside
Don’t use your dryer for items that are made with foam, rubber or plastic, or cleaned with spot remover or other flammable products
If drying time seems longer than normal, call a qualified contractor to inspect your dryer
The repeated motion of a dryer can crack the flexible fuel line on the back, causing a gas leak. At least once a year, check or replace rusty or damaged hoses and connectors. Be sure the fuel line valve is in the off position before replacing the tubing or call a qualified heating contractor
Have your furnace inspected once a year by a qualified heating contractor
If your furnace isn’t providing heat, check to see if the circuit breaker is on
If a fuse blows after being replaced, call a licensed electrician. You could have a short in the wiring
Check for rust and corrosion on the vent pipe connected to the chimney. Make sure it’s secure at both ends
Keep your chimney and vent pipe free of obstructions like leaves, nests, snow and ice
Replace vents and flue pipes that have weak spots, rust or cracks. Even small openings can allow dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to collect in your home
Check the filter once a month. A dirty filter blocks the warm air flow and wastes energy
Remove lint, dust and debris from air ducts and registers
Keep the furnace door closed
Shut off the gas before you clean, paint or do maintenance work
Before using your gas grill, make sure all connections are secure and the hoses don’t have any cracks or holes
Make sure the burners and the tubes from the burner to the gas valve are clear. Spiders and other small insects can get into your gas grill and block the gas flow
Keep the lid open when you light your grill to prevent gas from collecting and causing a dangerous flare-up
Empty the grease container often to prevent buildup on the bottom of the grill
Space Heater Safety
If you buy an electric space heater, make sure it has the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label
Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions
If the appliance has a three-pronged plug, plug it directly into the wall outlet. (The third prong grounds the appliance and prevents shocks.) Some extension cords can’t handle that amount of electricity and could cause a fire
Keep the heater away from curtains, drapes and bedspreads and other flammable materials
Keep the heater away from water and never touch it when you’re wet
Always unplug the heater before you go to bed or leave home
Don’t use or store flammable paints, chemicals, gasoline and aerosol sprays near your heater
The vapors could ignite and cause a fire
Don’t use a space heater if the cord is frayed or damaged
Never use a space heater in place of your home heating system
Follow all manufacturer’s instructions
Be sure the anti-tip device is installed properly
Movement of your gas stove or oven can cause the flexible fuel line on the back to crack, resulting in a gas leak. At least once a year, check or replace rusty or damaged hoses and connectors. Be sure the fuel line valve is off before replacing the tubing. Or call a qualified heating contractor
Never use your stove or oven to heat your home
Water Heater Safety
Set the temperature on your water heater at 120° or lower. Water that is too hot can cause severe burns. Children and the elderly are especially sensitive to hot water
Do not use or store flammable paints, chemicals, gasoline and aerosol sprays near your water heater. The vapors could ignite and cause a fire
When installing a water heater wrap, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Cut out access to the controls, thermostat, drain, pilot light and air supply areas, including the bottom of the heater and vent connections
Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly. Keep you and your family safe with the following safety tips.
Install CO Alarms
Install a CO alarm for each floor of your home. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. They’re available at home improvement, hardware and grocery stores
Check or replace the battery when you reset your clocks for Daylight Savings Time each spring and fall
If the alarm goes off, leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1
Prevent CO Leaks
Get your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliances checked by a qualified technician every year
Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, garage or near a window
Don’t leave a car or truck running inside an attached garage, even if you leave the garage doors open
Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented
Don’t heat your home with a gas oven
Learn more about carbon monoxide poisoning on the CDC website
Recognize CO Poisoning
Check to see if anyone in your home feels dizzy, light-headed, nauseous, confused or has a headache
Get everyone, including pets, out of the home and into fresh air
Call 9-1-1 for immediate medical help
NEVER re-enter your home until help has arrived, your house has been investigated and the problem is corrected
Call a qualified contractor or your natural gas or propane provider to have your appliances checked
Gas and electric lines are often buried and out of sight. State law requires you contact MISS DIG 811 by calling 8-1-1 or going to www.missdig811.org at least 3 full working days before you dig. MISS DIG 811 will arrange to have underground power lines, gas lines and other utilities marked at no charge so you can dig safely. You are responsible for marking underground lines that run from your meter to other structures on your property, to include garages, gas grills and yard lights.
If you will be digging anywhere near a marked area - especially if you are using power equipment - use a wood handled shovel and carefully hand dig to expose the lines. This will prevent emergencies and unnecessary service interruptions to you and your neighbors.
Look for applicable markers, paint and/or signage that indicates the presence of underground natural gas lines, to include those lines recently installed
Thunderstorms, floods and winter storms require you to make quick decisions for shelter and safety. Knowing what to do ahead of time will go a long way toward protecting you from lightning and other dangers.
Seek shelter immediately in a permanent structure (a designated severe weather shelter, basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor possible, such as a bathroom or hallway)
Never seek shelter in a mobile home or trailer
If there are no reinforced buildings nearby, take shelter in a car, truck or other hard-topped vehicle and keep the windows closed
Avoid trees, golf clubs, tractors, fishing rods, bicycles and camping equipment as they can attract lightning
Power surges from lightning can cause costly damage to home appliances and electronics. Install surge protectors or unplug electronics before a storm
After a tornado has passed, watch for downed wires and gas leaks. Stay a safe distance away and report them to us at 800-477-5050 and calling 9-1-1 as well
Visit Do1Thing.com to take one new planning goal each month toward becoming fully prepared for emergencies
Winter Storm Safety
Avoid travel unless necessary
Make sure furnace vents and meters are free of ice and snow
Help pipes from freezing during cold temperatures by keeping a constant drip in your faucets
If you’re in a flood zone, consider raising your utilities above the base flood level
If emergency personnel evacuate a flooded area, electricity and natural gas services are likely to be shut off for safety
After flooding recedes, check for gas odors before entering any area. If you smell a rotten egg odor, leave immediately and call us at 800-477-5050 and calling 9-1-1 as well. Learn more about after flooding safety
Never enter a flooded basement if there’s a chance the power is on
Consider flooded appliances unsafe to use until a mechanical contractor inspects them. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions
Downed power lines in standing water are extremely dangerous. Assume they’re “live” and stay at least 25 feet away from the wires and any wet areas they may be touching
Immediately report any downed wires by calling us at 800-477-5050 and 9-1-1
As the property owner, you’re responsible for maintenance and operation of all gas lines that flow from the meter to appliances or other structures such as pools or garages and for keeping these gas lines operating safely.
As your natural gas provider, we maintain all natural gas underground facilities from the gas main up to the gas meter. As the property owner, you’re responsible for maintenance and operation of all gas lines that flow from the meter to all appliances. This includes gas lines to your yard lights, grills, pool and spa heaters, garages, workshops or other similar areas.
You should have a regular maintenance program for the underground lines you own. These lines must be checked for leaks and, if metallic, corrosion.
State law requires you contact MISS DIG 811 by calling 8-1-1 or going to www.missdig811.org at least 3 full working days before you dig. MISS DIG 811 will arrange to have underground power lines, gas lines and other utilities marked at no charge so you can dig safely. You are responsible for marking underground lines that run from the meter to other structures on your property, to include garages, gas grills and yard lights. If you have an outdoor sprinkler system, you will also need to mark those lines.
Never hang clothes or other items on indoor gas lines as it could lead to a gas leak.
Have gas appliances regularly inspected by a qualified contractor and follow all other manufacturer’s instructions.
Any time you smell a rotten egg odor, leave the area immediately and call 800-477-5050 and 9-1-1. For more information, visit our Natural Gas Safety page.
Damaging a gas line is a serious safety concern. Report all gas leaks to Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050 and 9-1-1 from a safe location.