Electrical Safety Around the Home

We use electrical appliances and equipment to perform countless chores and activities around the home every day.  It is easy to possibly overlook some items that make their operation safe and reliable.  The following are some things to keep in mind….more…

Electrical Safety Around the Farm

We use electrical appliances and equipment to perform countless chores and activities around the farm and home every day.  But as farmers, with the ever changing environment you work in, there are numerous activities that you perform that pose special hazards…more…

Standby Electric Generator Safety

Some customers prepare for the possibility of power outages by buying an electric generator as a standby system to keep lights and appliances running until services is restore…more…

Storm and Flood Hazards

Storms and floods can create both gas and electrical hazards.  In an emergency, be ready to take the following steps…more…

What To Do If the Lights Go Out

If your entire house or apartment is without electricity, check the neighborhood to see if there is a power outage.  If neighbors’ windows are dark, a call to OPU will help us restore service as quickly as possible.  If you have difficulty getting through, we are probably receiving a large volume of calls and may already know about your outage.

If electricity is out in only your house or part of your house, then chances are a fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has shut off because of an overload or a short circuit.  To get service again, you’ll need to replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker in your electric switch box by turning it completely off, then on.

Turning Your Electricity On and Off

Main Switch

Know where your home’s main electric switch is, so you can turn off the electric supply to your entire home quickly in case of emergency.


  • Know where your fuse box or circuit-breaker box is located.
  • Know the correct sizes of any fuses needed in your home and keep spares on hand. Blown fuses must be replaced, not repaired. Do not replace a fuse with one of higher amperage.
  • If a fuse blows, disconnect or turn off the appliance(s) that may have caused the problem.
  • Shut off the main electric switch before replacing a fuse.

Circuit Breakers

  • Know how to reset a circuit breaker. After turning off or unplugging appliances on the circuit, push the switch firmly to the off position, then back on. If the overloads is cleared, the electricity will come back on.
  • If your circuit breakers trip off repeatedly, there could be a problem with the appliance(s) on that circuit. If the appliances are unplugged but the circuit breaker trips off again, call an electrician.

In Case of an Emergency


  • Be sure smoke alarms are installed throughout your home. (Replace them every 10 years.)
  • If your smoke alarms run on batteries, check batteries annually. Mark it on your calendar.
  • Keep fire extinguishers in your home. Be sure to keep an extinguisher in risk areas such as the kitchen and workshop, and know how to use it. Have them checked annually.
  • Know what to do in case of a grease or electric fire. Use baking soda, or if a pan is on fire, smother the flames with a lid. Never use water to put out a fire on your stove.

Lighting Your Home

Good lighting, both inside and outside your home, not only helps avoid accidents but increases your home security, makes household tasks easier and makes it easier for emergency personnel to find your home.


  • Direct lighting over any stairs increases safety. Contrasting colors between the floor and first step will help you see the difference in height.
  • With two-way switches at the top and bottom of stairways, you’ll always be able to turn on the light from either end.


  • Good lighting on steps and stairways helps prevent slips and falls.
  • Be sure there’s enough light to see who is at your door.
  • Address markers should be well-lighted and visible from the street.

Light Fixtures

  • When changing light bulbs, never exceed the wattage rating for the fixture. Check for a sticker on the base of the lamp socket.
  • Turn off fixtures and light switches before replacing bulbs. If you aren’t sure whether the lamp is on or of, unplug it first.
  • use long-life or fluorescent bulbs where access is difficult. Fluorescent bulbs last longest and also save energy.
  • make sure your kitchen counters and other work areas are well lighted for safety.

Everyday Precautions

No one can predict natural disasters, but you can reduce the possibility of damage and injury by observing these safety measures.

  • Do not store or use gasoline, paint or other flammable substances in the same area as any gas appliance such as a water heater or other source of flame.
  • Know where the shut-off valves of all your appliances are located, as well as the shut-offs for your household gas and electric services.
  • Do not locate pools and spas under electric lines.
  • If trees or tree branches are too close to electric lines, call OPU at 451-2480.

Don’t Become a Victim. Stay Calm.

In an emergency, it’s easy to panic. Loud noises, roaring wind and flashes of lightning can seem terrifying and threatening. But the real danger may be more subtle–a gas leak, or electricity from a severed power line.

Owatonna Public Utilities wants its customers informed about the most common gas and electric hazards caused by storms and natural disasters, and to show you how to prevent injuries and stay safe.