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Jane George
Jane George

By Jane George, Regional Affairs Director, PPL Electric Utilities

While making safety first should be a year-round proposition, there are some particular safety hazards lurking during the winter months that we have to keep in mind and guard against.

Consumer statistics indicate that electrical product sales increase during the winter months. When considering that and the fact that we can have some pretty cold winter months in our region, there is great potential for electrical-related fires and injuries.

Here are some tips, many provided by our friends at the Electrical Safety Foundation International, to help keep everyone safe during the winter.

  • Space heaters can supplement your heat source, but they can also be dangerous, causing more than 65,000 fires each year. Never plug a space heater into an extension cord. Make sure to plug your heater directly into an outlet to avoid fires.
  • Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on every level of your home, especially outside of bedrooms. Test them regularly to make sure the alarms are working properly.
  • Regularly inspect your power strips, appliance cords, and extension cords for any damage, and be sure to replace any fraying or damaged cords, which can cause fires.
  • If you need to use a generator, place it in a cool, dry, well-ventilated outdoor location. Make sure the generator is properly grounded and used with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). And use only extension cords that have a three-pronged plug and are rated for the intended load.
  • Many of us are working and schooling remotely and have lots of electronics plugged in around the house. Unplug items such as cell phone and laptop chargers when you’re not using them to avoid overloading your outlets.

And while we’re on the topic of winter, remember not to bury our pad-mounted transformers (see photo at right) when shoveling snow or using a snow blower. And please don’t let young children play on or around them. It’s important to keep the transformers visible and easily accessible for our crews.

For more ways to stay safe and plan for emergencies, visit