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Safety during POWER OUTAGES, what did we cover oh snap I need power to access the net to find out!

We have all in our life time been through power outages not just short bumps on the grids but those long range ones where you say I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED! Most power outages will be over almost as soon as they begin, but some can last much longer – up to days or even weeks.    Everyone always rolls their eyes and wonders where safety gets this stuff right up to the point of the event then it’s like what was in that safety talk again?

Most people would say oh Id just go home, ok you cant use the elevator no power, you can use the stairs assuming the emergency power working, you cant use the security electronic locks or garage doors to the building they need power!   The list is endless of what is not working!!!!   Everyone talks a great story until the light bulb goes out, and ask what is in our emergency plan and is this an emergency?  Did we cover the procedures and who does what and where are those STUPID FLASH LIGHTS.


Safety FIRST remember the power went out for a REASON so shut down machines, look for downed lines or did you over load a circuit and trip the breakers?

During a power outage, you may be left without heating/air conditioning, lighting, hot water, or even running water. If you only have a cordless phone, you will also be left without phone service. If you do not have a battery-powered or crank radio, you may have no way of monitoring news broadcasts. In other words, you could be facing major challenges. You can greatly lessen the impact of a power outage by taking the time to prepare in advance at work and business or home.

At work we talk about many things like EMERGENCY LIGHTING and how long does it last and who or whom tested it last, or I have flashlight in my gear but when did Iast test test it and I cant find my bag in the dark.

Or what about the staff fridge or food how long was the power out will the  stuff on the inside stay fresh!

WHERE IS THAT FLASHLIGHT and what PM did you give it?

When you buy a flashlight, you typically purchase one for a specific purpose and in many cases, that purpose will most likely put some wear and tear on your light. Whether using it on heavy construction sites or as a critical tool for repairing your car on the side of the road in the rain, there is truly is no limit into which a good Coast flashlight can be pushed. While we designed our flashlights to withstand these tough environments, flashlight maintenance is still vital to the longevity of the light. For a flashlight, like many other tools used in everyday occasions, maintenance is key because it can help extend the life of the flashlight and ensure it is at its peak performance for when you’re in the thick of those tough environments. Inspired by the various issues shared with our warranty and the solutions they provide on a daily basis, we’ve created a flashlight maintenance guide.

Flashlight Maintenance doesn’t necessarily occur after use, the way you use your light during work or recreation is important as well. A common mistake we see many users do with their light is hold it in their mouths. By doing this, it allows the moisture from your mouth to enter and potentially damage the end cap of the light and this can lead to issues such as switch failure. If you find yourself in scenarios where both hands are needed, we highly recommend switching to a headlamp or a flashlight with a clip. Another in use practice that relates to moisture is if your flashlight gets significantly wet, make sure to dry it off as soon as possible. While all our lights are water resistant and some are even water proof, leaving it damp for an extended period of time increases the risk of damage.

Once you finished using your light, don’t just clean off the access moisture, make sure to clean off any dirt or grim on the light as well. Once that dirt settles, it can be difficult to remove and can potentially ruin the grip of the flashlight. Simply take a damp wash cloth to the light and scrub away. Depending on the substance on the light, you may need a more heavy duty cleaning material to use but make sure it won’t ruin the casing of the light. Keeping it clean will not only help perform at peak performance but also continue to look great as well!

Finally, after cleaning the light, flashlight maintenance continues with how you store your light. The first step in storage is making sure it’s not stored somewhere with direct sun exposure. It’s a very common practice to keep a flashlight in your car and we recommend not keeping it on a dashboard or back window where the sun can overheat the light. Storing your flashlights in dry, cool spaces is recommended. When storing, according to our lighting specialists, removing alkaline is also a recommended flashlight maintenance step. This will help prevent batteries from eroding and unnecessarily draining.

Flashlight Lubes

This is the step that makes sure that your flashlight unscrews smoothly and that your O-rings do not dry out. Some of the best lubes are Nyogel, Krytox, Nano-oil, or our preferred since it is easy to find and cheap is Super Lube. We also think that this is a great lubricant for O rings. One of these tubes will last you a long time. You might need different lubes based on the material that your O-rings are made out of but Super Lube should work for most lights

Finally, if stored for a long time, monthly batteries tests are recommended. If a battery erodes and leaks into the light, it can ruin flashlight. Keeping batteries fresh or using a rechargeable light with lithium batteries will help avoid this issue.
During a power outage

  • First, check whether the power outage is limited to your business or home. If your neighbours/competitors’ power is still on, check your own circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If the problem is not a breaker or a fuse, check the service wires leading to the business/house. If they are obviously damaged or on the ground, stay at least 10 meters back and notify your electric supply authority. Keep the number along with other emergency numbers near your telephone.
  • If your neighbours’ power is also out, notify your electric supply authority.
  • Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, and turn the thermostat(s) for the business or home heating system down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored. Also, power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.
  • Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside, so that both you and hydro crews outside know that power has been restored.
  • Don’t open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.
  • Never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or business or home generators indoors or in garages. They give off carbon monoxide. Because you can’t smell or see it, carbon monoxide can cause health problems and is life-threatening.
  • Listen to your battery-powered or wind-up radio for information on the outage and advice from authorities.   Oh you don’t have one then how do you expect to get update even Cell towers use batteries


  • Make sure your business or home has a working carbon monoxide detector. If it is hard-wired to the business/house’s electrical supply, ensure it has a battery-powered back-up.
  • Protect sensitive electrical appliances such as TVs, computer, and DVD players with a surge-protecting powerbar.

Use of business or home generators

Business or home generators are handy for backup electricity in case of an outage, but must only be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. A back-up generator may only be connected to your business or home’s electrical system through an approved transfer panel and switch that has been installed by a qualified electrician. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet as serious injury can result when the current produced by the business or home generator is fed back into the electrical lines, and transformed to a higher voltage. This can endanger the lives of utility employees working to restore the power.

To operate a generator safely:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ensure that the generator operates outdoors in well-ventilated conditions, well away from doors or windows, and never in your garage, to prevent exhaust gases from entering the house.
  • Connect lights and appliances directly to the generator. If extension cords must be used, ensure they are properly rated, CSA-approved cords.


And don’t forget person with other needs other than your own

People with disabilities or others requiring assistance

Consider how you may be affected in a power outage, including:

  • Your evacuation route – without elevator service (if applicable).
  • Planning for a backup power supply for essential medical equipment.
  • Keeping a flashlight and a cell phone handy to signal for help.
  • Establishing a self-help network to assist and check on you during an emergency.
  • Enrolling in a medical alert program that will signal for help if you are immobilized.
  • Keeping a list of facilities that provide life-sustaining equipment or treatment.
  • Keeping a list of medical conditions and treatment.
  • If you live in an apartment, advise the property management that you may need assistance staying in your apartment or that you must be evacuated if there is a power outage. This will allow the property manager to plan and make the necessary arrangements on your behalf.


During power outages, many people use portable electrical generators. If the portable generator is improperly sized, installed, or operated, it can send power back to the electrical lines. This problem is called backfeed or feedback in the electrical energy in power lines. Backfeed can seriously injure or kill repair workers or people in neighboring buildings. This fact sheet provides workers with information on how to restore power safely to local communities when a portable generator is being used in a home or homes in the area.

Effects of Backfeed

The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a constant risk for electrical energy workers. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths.

Understanding the Process

When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes by another power source such as a portable generator. If the generator is plugged into a household circuit, the electrical current could reverse, go back through the circuit to the power grid, and then increase in voltage. If a worker attempts to repair power lines when this happens, the worker could be electrocuted. Following certain safety guidelines can reduce this risk.

Safeguards against Backfeed

  • Workers should treat all power lines as “hot”unless the lines have been de-energized and grounded. Because of the possibility of a feedback circuit, the worker should ground all lines on both sides of the work area unless he/she is wearing the proper personal protective equipment.
  • Prevent electrocutions by conducting standard teststo decide if there is high voltage in the power lines. Low voltage includes voltages from 50 to 600 volts. High voltage includes voltages of 601 volts to 230,000. Extra high voltage is any voltage over 230,000 volts.
  • Workers should also use low voltage testing equipmentsuch as glowing a neon light or light-emitting diode type equipment to determine whether there is low voltage present. High voltage tests may not identify lower voltage levels. Lower voltages are also deadly.
  • Power lines should not be repaired or otherwise accessed without adequate personal protective equipmentsuch as NEC rated and approved gloves and sleeves.

How the Public Can Help

  • Have a trained, qualified electrician install a portable generator.
  • Be sure that the main circuit breaker is OFFand locked out prior to starting the generator. This will help protect utility workers from possible electrocution.

First Aid for Electrical Shock

If you believe someone has been electrocuted take the following steps:

  1. Look first. Don’t touch. The person may still be in contact with the electrical source. Touching the person may pass the current through you.
  2. Call or have someone else call 911 or emergency medical help.
  3. Turn off the source of electricity if possible. If not, move the source away from you and the affected person using a nonconducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood.
  4. Once the person is free of the source of electricity, check the person’s breathing and pulse. If either has stopped or seems dangerously slow or shallow, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.
  5. If the person is faint or pale or shows other signs of shock, lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk of his or her body and the legs elevated.
  6. Don’t touch burns, break blisters, or remove burned clothing. Electrical shock may cause burns inside the body, so be sure the person is taken to a doctor.

Power Line Hazards and Cars

If a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle. This is the safest place to stay. Warn people not to touch the car or the line. Call or ask someone to call the local utility company and emergency services.

The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches on fire. Open the door. Do not step out of the car. You may receive a shock. Instead, jump free of the car so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground. Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 50 feet away, with both feet on the ground.

As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 or call your electric utility company’s Service Center/Dispatch Office.

Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide

For important information about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning during a power outage, see the following resources.

When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the “off” position prior to starting the generator. This will prevent power lines from being inadvertently energized by backfeed electrical energy from the generators, and help protect utility line workers or other repair workers or people in neighboring buildings from possible electrocution. If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid, and energize power lines or electrical systems in other buildings to at or near their original voltage without the knowledge of utility or other workers.

Effects of Backfeed

The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk for electrical energy workers. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths. Following the safety guidelines below can reduce this risk.

Safeguards against Backfeed

  • Extreme caution must be exercised by persons working on or in the vicinity of unverified de-energized power lines.All persons performing this work should treat all power lines as “hot” unless they positively know these lines are properly de-energized and grounded. Because of the possibility of a feedback circuit, the person performing the work should personally ground all lines on both sides of the work area and wear the proper required protective equipment.
  • Linemen must be instructed to treat all power lines as energized unless they personally de-energize themby establishing a visible open point between the load and supply sides of the line to be repaired, by opening a fused disconnect, by opening a fused switch, or by removing a tap jumper if the load permits.
  • Workers must verify that the power lines have been de-energized.
  • Workers must provide proper grounding for the lines.Unless a power line is effectively grounded on both sides of a work area, it must be considered energized even though the line has been de-energized. Lines must be grounded to the system neutral. Grounds must be attached to the system neutral first and removed from the system neutral last. If work is being performed on a multiphase system, grounds must be placed on all lines. Lines should be grounded in sight of the working area and work should be performed between the grounds whenever possible. If work is to be performed out of sight of the point where the line has been de-energized, an additional ground should be placed on all lines on the source side of the work area.
  • Persons working on or in the vicinity of power lines should be provided with appropriate safety and protective equipment and trained in procedures that address all magnitudes of voltages to which they may be exposed.Procedures should be established to perform a dual voltage check on the grounded load and supply sides of the open circuit. Once it has been determined that high voltage is not present, low voltage testing equipment, such as a glowing neon light or a light-emitting diode, should be used to determine if lower voltage is present.

Terry Penney

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