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With warmer temperatures comes an increase in outdoor activity, especially for homeowners getting their yards and gardens back into shape. Think safety first, especially around electricity, when performing spring chores.
• If you use an electric mower this spring, ensure that the blade is sharp and in good condition, the discharge chute is free of dirt and debris, and the insulation on the power cord is in good shape.
• Appliances and electric power tools should not be used outdoors unless they are equipped with a heavy-duty cord and three-pronged plug. If the grounding prong is missing or damaged, have it repaired before you attempt to use it.
• Ensure that all outdoor electrical outlets are weatherproofed with plug covers and equipped with a ground-fault circuit interrupter.
• Before digging, whether it’s to plant a tree, make a new garden bed or start a construction project, call 811 to find out whether a buried electric cable or other infrastructure might be on your property. The call is not only required by Texas law—it might even save your life.
• If an electrical fire starts at an outdoor wall outlet, pull out the plug by the cord or turn off power at the breaker and call 911. If the fire is small, you can attempt to put it out with a carbon dioxide-based or general-purpose fire extinguisher. Never put water on an electrical fire.
• If you are not sure you can handle a job, hire an expert—especially when it comes to electrical repairs.
• Keep tools clean and maintained. Inspect them before each use.
• Plan ahead and don’t rush a job. Accidents are more likely when you’re in a hurry.
• Wear the correct clothing and sturdy shoes when mowing or using other power tools in the yard.
• Before attempting to adjust or repair an electrical tool, don’t merely turn it off—unplug it.