smaye@esandc.ca | 905-973-8229

    

Outlets, Outlets and more Outlets!!!!

Another exciting month has come and gone and even with the school boards holding rotating strikes we have still been able to visit and teach many students across Ontario. Our five presenters have been fortunate enough to visit schools in the following cities and towns: Arthur, Brampton, Brantford, Burlington, Elora, Georgetown, Jordan Station, Newmarket, Niagara Falls, Richmond Hill and Thornhill.

 

So let’s talk OUTLETS!!! According to the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) there are, on average 110 kids under 15 years old, per year that go to the emergency department in Ontario for treatment due to an electrical injury. From these 110 children, more than 50% are under age 5. This isn’t much of a surprise since most young children enjoy putting things into their mouths or trying to stick objects into outlets. However, it isn’t just children that are at risk, the ESA reports that 60% of Ontarians have been shocked at some point by an outlet, wire or switch. There have been several developments and additions to the electrical code for what outlets to put where in your house which hopefully will continue to lessen the amount of injuries we see. However, it can be quite overwhelming!!! Two pronged, three pronged, ground pin, GFCI, AFCI, tamper resistant, etc. the list goes on. Let me break it down for you:

 

Two Prong Outlet

These are common in older houses. They often do not have a grounding wire built-in to them and they aren’t compatible with most of our plugs. The pin on the right is “hot”, this is the pin that the plug uses to power the appliance. The pin on the left is “neutral”, electricity currents return through this pin. The combination of the “hot” and “neutral” pins complete the circuit, providing power. If you are replacing your old two-pronged outlets with a three pronged outlet you will need to make sure that it has a ground wire, if not that little round hole in the new outlet will be pretty much useless. In the case that receptacle is missing the ground wire, you should have a licenced electrician in to update your wiring to include this.

 

Three Prong Outlet

This outlet has a ground pin. The grounding pin is exclusively for safety. The grounding pin is connected to the grounding wire which basically acts as a “backup” path or an alternate route for electrical current to follow back to the ground in case there is a problem with the neutral wire.

 

Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TR or TRR)

When I was younger, adults put plugs into the outlets to stop children from injecting objects into the holes. However, these were fairly easy to take out and so not always effective. When TR outlets were first introduced they were recommended in high traffic areas less than 2 meters from the floor. It’s now required that all outlets in newly built dwellings be TR. The way that these outlets work is they have spring loaded shutters inside, so you are only able to insert a plug if you put two prongs in simultaneously. It you try and force a plug into the outlet one prong at a time you will be unsuccessful and likely left with a damaged plug with a bent prong. It can be an adjustment for some but they are a great safety feature. They are also available with GFCI and AFCI.

 

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)

These outlets are required whenever they are within 1.5 meters of a water source, they should be used in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, etc. They are also required on all outdoor outlets as they are able to protect against weather elements. The GFCI works by cutting off the power in an outlet when the circuit is broken. So if you dropped your hair dryer in the sink the electricity from the hair dryer would go in the water and not back through the neutral pin. The GFCI would detect that the electricity is not coming back through the neutral pin and trigger the outlet to turn off, potentially saving your life. It’s important to test your GFCI regularly. This can be easily done by pushing the test button and making sure you hear a click. You could also plug in a night light or small lamp and hit the test button and the light should turn off.

 

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)

These are similar to the GFCIs but are used to protect against fires caused by an electrical arc behind the walls. Electrical arcs can occur when the wiring is old, damaged, or overloaded. Replacing standard outlets with AFCIs can prevent up to 50% of electrical fires. When the AFCI detects an electrical arc it triggers the outlet to turn off. These can be tested in the same way that you test your GFCIs.

 

With all outlets it’s important to routinely check them for damage. Make it a regular thing, replace your furnace filters = check your outlets. Be sure to check for cracked or damaged cover plates, chipped outlets and test your GFCIs and AFCIs. So, now you have it, all the information you need to make sure you are knowledgeable on the safety points of electrical outlets. So next time your out and about and electrical outlets become the topic of conversation you will be able to fully participate. Better still, you can make sure that all the outlets in your home are safe.

 

It’s been another exciting month at ES&C….we officially welcomed our newest presenter, Ryan. Ryan has an extensive background in the electrical field and has done many public speaking events, a prefect fit for our group. He will join Fern, Blair, Danny and Denis in presenting to students in schools across Ontario. We’ve been fortunate enough to visit the following cities and towns so far in 2020: Arthur, Brampton, Brantford, Burlington, Collingwood, Elora, Georgetown, Greely, Innisfil, Kanata, Maple, Milton, Mitchell, Nepean, Orleans, Ottawa, Richmond Hill and Thornbury.

 

The purpose of our presentations are to teach students the different sources of electricity, how to stay safe around electricity and how to conserve energy. With proper education and safety precautions, accidents can often be avoided, but sometimes things happen beyond our control. It’s important to know what to do in case of an electrical accident and the steps to take to get to safety….

 

  1. First off NEVER touch the person who has been shocked, if you do the shock could travel through them, shocking you as well.
  2. Unplug the source of the power.
  3. It’s important to find an adult as quickly as possible and let them know that an electrical accident has happened.
  4. Call 911, when you’re speaking to the operator make sure you tell them that the person injured has been involved in an electrical accident.
  5. If the accident was near a power line, transformer box or other utility equipment remember to stay back the length of a school bus and do not let anyone get closer than that. Keep everyone back and ask an adult to call 911.
  6. Even if the person only received a mild shock and seems to be OK it’s still important to go to the hospital or see your doctor. Since electricity burns from the inside out, you may not be able to see the damage. Internal organs and the heart can continue to be affected for hours after the accident has occurred.

 

                    

          

Well, it’s been awhile but were still here, busy sharing the safety message. Since our last post our presenters have been to Ajax, Aurora, Beamsville, Belleville, Bowmanville, Bradford, Brantford, Burlington, Casselman, Clinton, Cornwall, Fonthill, Gloucester, Hamilton, Hanover, Kanata, Long Sault, Maple, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, Nepean, Newmarket, Niagara Falls, Orleans, Orono, Penetanguishene, Pickering, Port Colborne, Port Hope, Richmond Hill, Stittsville, Thornhill, Vaughan and Woodbridge. WOW, talk about putting miles on. Thankfully the guys love what they do everyday.

 

We were recently able to celebrate the holidays with the whole team over a delicious dinner and yummy drinks. A huge thank you to Sandra and Mike for continuing to treat us all so well. Since our presenter work primarily on their own, our annual Christmas dinner is always a really nice time for the for the team to get together and reflect on the past year. This one was a big one for us as we added two new members to our group, Denis and Ryan.

 

 

 

To make sure that everyone has a safe holiday season we have some tips to keep in mind and practice at home:

 

1. Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. 
Weather you’re hanging them on the tree on around your house for decorations, more than three strands may not only blow a fuse, but can also cause a fire.

2. Keep trees fresh by watering daily.
Dry trees are a serious fire hazard. If you have school aged children this is a perfect job for their little bodies to crawl under the tree to water it.

3. Check decorations for certification label.
Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.

4. Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use. 
Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.

5. Protect cords from damage. 
To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors and windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.

6. Do not overload electrical outlets. 
Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and plug only one high-wattage into each outlet at a time.

7. Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house. 
Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires.

8. Use battery-operated candles. 
This way you won’t have to worry about little fingers touching them or dog tails knocking them over. It’s still important to turn them off when you go to bed or leave the house but they are a safer option.

 

      

We hope that everyone enjoyed their summer vacations as much as all of us here at ES&C!!! Summer for us was filled with camping, farming, sports, bird watching, golfing and plenty of beautiful weather and sunshine. Now that the school year is back up and running we are super excited to get back into the grind of things and start visiting more schools once again! So far this year we have already visited Hamilton, Niagara Falls, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Maple, Tottenham, Ottawa, Orleans, Brantford, Woodbridge, Gloucester, Nepean, North Bay, Pickering and Port Hope. We were fortunate enough to once again take part in the Orono Fair as well as Bowmanville’s Safety Day.

 

But our most exciting news was being awarded the Chief Public Safety Officer’s Special Recognition Award at the Electrical Safety Authority’s annual awards banquet on September 26th at the Living Arts Center in Mississauga. This was a huge honour for us and such a privilege to be recognized amongst leaders in the industry for having a great impact on students throughout Ontario in spreading the safety message. We were able to meet the leaders from several distribution companies and through that networking we will expand our area to visit even more schools. So, if we haven’t been to your school please call us and we can see if your eligible and set-up a date!

 

Now that we’ve completed our first month of school, it is also a great idea to review some important classroom and school ground safety tips:

 

  1. No matter what anyone tells you, NEVER stick anything in electrical outlets or light bulb socket. Even if someone tells you the outlet isn’t working. This includes writing utensils such as pens, pencils or markers, paperclips or fingers!!! The Electrical Safety Foundation International reports that, on average 7 children are sent to the Emergency Room each day due to electrical shock or burn injuries caused by tampering with electrical wall outlets.
  2. Many classes have sinks in them for the students to use but it’s important to remember to dry your hands completely before plugging anything into an outlet. Remember, electricity travels through water so if your hands are wet and they get the prongs on the plug wet, then the electricity can travel to you and cause serious injury.
  3. When unplugging an cord from an outlet remember to grab the plastic base – do not pull or yank on the cord. This could cause damage to the cord, the appliance, the outlet or YOU!
  4.  If you see a pad-mount transformer (one of those big green boxes) while waiting for the bus or near the school be sure not to climb on it or try to open it.
  5. Sometimes kids may think it’s cool to throw something onto the powerline, such as shoes. It’s never a good idea, even if your dared to do it, don’t!

 

Keep all of these safety tips in mind and you’ll be sure to have a fun and safe school year!!!

 

                 

 

Yesterday the team gathered to celebrate another school year of success and to plan things for the next school year. We talked about changes that teachers suggest on the feedback forms we receive and different ways to keep the program current and fresh…..and we had a wonderful lunch with even better company, only Wires was missing from the group.

 

Now that summer vacation is finally upon us and the warm weather is here welcoming us to spend more time outdoors it’s important to do a walk around outside with your family and show children where any hazards are and how to stay safe near them. Some things to look out for are:

 

  1. Powerlines!!!! We say it all the time in every presentation, do not play near powerlines, do not touch them with your hand, leg, nose, toe or any part of your body. Do not touch them with a stick, toy or any object. It best to assume that all powerlines are live and dangerous. If you see a powerline down – do not touch it – call your local utility and they will send a qualified person to safety deal with it.
  2. If you see a person, a pet or something that you need in an electrical substation, don’t try to rescue them. Once again call your local utility or 9-1-1, both are very friendly, nice people who will be able to safely help.
  3. It’s best not to climb up a utility pole or port signs to them as this can endanger the workers that have to use those poles.
  4. Shoes belong on your feet, NEVER thrown up onto a powerline. Don’t throw them up there and don’t try to get any down that someone else threw up there.
  5. The best places to fly kites and play with other air toys is in open areas, not near powerlines where they can hit the line. Your kite will also fly better in open areas where it can catch more wind, fly higher and you can run further.
  6. Climbing trees – although they are a lot of fun to climb, find one that isn’t near a powerline. You’ll be able to climb worry free! If all your trees are near powerlines, call your local utility and they will have them trimmed or removed.
  7. For those lucky enough to have a pool, be sure to keep electrical toys and appliances away from the water. If you don’t have a pool the same applies for bathtubs, sprinkler systems and sinks. If your just getting out of the water and your wet make sure you don’t touch an electrical toy or outlet.
  8. Make sure all outdoor outlets are GFCI and have a cover, especially true if there are near pools or other summer water activities.
  9. If you see lightening or a thunder storm approaching, get out of the water. Weather it’s a pool, hot tub, or lake. Get out and go indoors.
  10. If you need to use an extension cord outside make sure it’s an outdoor extension cord that has a ground pin. The indoor ones just aren’t made to hold up to the elements.
  11. Although it may seem obvious, do NOT use electric grills when it is raining or drizzling outside. As with every other outdoor electrical device, make sure it is plugged into a GFCI outlet.

 

 

If you play safe and practice safety you will have a long, fun summer to enjoy!!!!

What sort of Electrical Safety Company would we be if we didn’t acknowledge and spread the word about Powerline Safety Week?

 

While there have been more than 1,248 reported overhead powerline contacts in Ontario in the last ten years, 19 people have lots their lives from overhead powerline contact. People who work closer to the powerlines are at a higher risk, such as construction workers and powerline workers. Dump trucks are the cause of more than half of the accidents caused by powerline contact.

 

It’s important to know that even though accidents are more common on construction and work sites they can happen just as easily at home. The three most common powerline hazards at home are: using ladders, trimming trees and flying kites. There are many things we can do to help prevent these sorts of accidents from happening at home and at work. The ESA has given the following tips to stay safe:

 

5 Tips to #RespectThePower at Home:

  1. Locate the wires. Before starting any outdoor job, first look up, look out and locate the powerlines. Then keep track of where they are as you move around your yard.
  2. Stay back three metres from all powerlines – that means you as well as any tools such as ladders or pruners. Coming too close to the wires can cause electricity to jump or “arc” to you or your tools.
  3. Never attach, drape or brace anything on a powerline. And never grab a line for balance when working at heights.
  4. Carry ladders, pruners and other long equipment horizontally, not vertically. This helps you avoid, touching or attract arcing from an overhead line as you move around your yard.
  5. Plant trees away from overhead powerlines and call Ontario One Call before you dig to ensure underground cables and other utility-owned equipment are located and marked. If existing trees have grown into or close to powerlines, contact a trained utility arborist or your local electric utility to have the tree safely trimmed.

 

5 Tips to #RespectThePower at Work:

  1. Look up, look out! Identify all powerlines on site and make sure people and equipment stay at least three metres away to prevent an incident. Electricity can jump to you or your equipment if you’re too close to a powerline.
  2. Drivers of dump trucks and other high-reach vehicles must get a signaller to ensure equipment doesn’t come within three metres of overhead powerlines. This is outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  3. Ensure that dump trucks on site drop their box after dumping the load. It’s good practice to have a raised box indicator installed in the truck to remind the driver the box is raised.
  4. Stay alert! Many incidents happen at the end of the day when workers are tired or rushing to finish a job.
  5. If wires fall down on the truck or the ground, always assume they are still energized. Stay in the vehicle, call 911 and keep everyone back at least 10 metres – the length of a school bus. Only the local utility worker on-site can confirm when the power is off and tell you when it’s safe to exit the vehicle.

 

Remember powerlines aren’t just located above us, before you do any landscaping work or digging, call Ontario One Call. It’s FREE and it can prevent considerable dollars in repair costs, save our neighbours from disrubtion to their services and most importantly prevent injury or death!!! Did I mention it’s FREE?

 

 

 

This past month our presenters have once again been busy travelling to Ottawa, Orleans, Kanata, Nepean, Milton, St. Catharines, Guelph, Mississauga, Brampton, Peterborough, Burlington, Beamsville, Newmarket, Barrie, Welland, Rockwood, Jordan, Richmond Hill, Mount Forest, Port Elgin and Niagara Falls.

 

Spring is in the air and while most of us use this time to clear the cob-webs there are some steps that you can take while cleaning that will also help reduce energy loss in your home – saving you money, who doesn’t want that? Here’s a list of 6 things that you can do to help conserve energy in your home:

 

  1.  Unplug and Organize
      • – When you’re cleaning off your counters, desks, any flat surface really, take a few extra minutes to unplug all the cell phone and tablet chargers, small appliances, etc. You can store your cords in one spot and take them out only when using. That way you will always know where one is when needed and by not leaving it plugged in the wall with nothing on the other end you’re not leaking energy out.
      • – Remember, if you’re not using it you can unplug it to maximize your energy savings.
  2.  Turn off the heat and/or AC
      • – When the weather permits, give your furnace or air conditioner a break by turning them off and opening some windows — Breathe the fresh air, your body will thank you…so will your hydro bill.
  3.  Clean sills and check seals
      • – While you have those windows and doors open, take a few minutes to clean out the sills and check all the seals. Gunk always builds up around them preventing a proper seal and allowing the warm or cold air out when the windows are closed.
      • – It’s also a great idea to check the seal around your fridge and freezer doors. No need to refrigerate the whole house….yet.
  4.  Dust the house and change the air filters
      • – Dirty air filters not only make the system work harder (which can cost more) they also aren’t as effective at keeping dust particles out of the air.
      • – Blocked vents also make the HVAC system work harder, try and make sure that the area around the vents are clear to maximize performance and minimize energy bills.
  5.  Dust the ceiling fans and choose the direction
      • – By having the fans move clockwise you are forcing the warm air down into the room
      • – Counter-clockwise creates a wind-chill effect and can cool a room more efficiently before you need to turn on your AC.
      • – Just like turning off the lights when you leave a room, try and make it a habit to turn the fan off when leaving the room as well. There’s no need to heat or cool an empty space.
  6.  Organize the attic and seal access
      • – When you’re doing the seasonal cloths and outwear switch make sure everything is packed neatly away and seal the attic access. Attics are often less efficient at keeping cold air out in the winter but become quite hot in the summer. Try and make sure that the seal will not allow too much air loss between the main house and the attic.

 

Lets give a big shout out to our presenters, Danny, Fern, Blair and Denis for all their hard work this past month in teaching all the students they visited how to be more energy conscience and all the ways they can help their family save on energy around the home!!!! Way to go guys!!!!

 

 

      

    

 

 

 

The warm air is finally starting to make an appearance. The presenters have continued to be busy visiting the following cities and towns: Mississauga, St. Catherines, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Burlington, Niagara Falls, Milton, Welland, Killbride, North Bay, Stittsville, Nepean, Kanata, Brampton, Victoria Harbour, Oshawa, Woodbridge, Guelph. All while having a week off for March break!!!

 

This past month we were fortunate enough to take part in Dimes for Time in Oshawa. An event sponsored by Elexicon Energy (formally Veridian Connections) which helps support under serviced families with the means to enroll their children into local sports and recreation programs. It so great when the Utility companies get involved in worthy causes in the community. So a big shout out to Elexicon Energy for sponsoring such a worthy cause.

 

As people begin to get the itch to get outside to start cutting the grass and trimming the hedges please remember to inspect all cords for your outdoor electrical equipment such as, lawn mowers, weed whackers, hedge trimmers, etc. Just because you put them away in good condition doesn’t mean Micky the Mouse didn’t have a snack over the holidays on them. Spring is a great time to make sure everything is in safe, working order.

 

                                        

We hope everyone rang in the New Year safely surrounded by their friends and family. Its been a busy first month and a half back here at ES&C and we are super excited to be starting the New Year off with a BANG!!! This past month the guys traveled to Richmond Hill, Vineland, Hamilton, Burlington, Brampton, Vaughan, Guelph, Georgetown, Thornhill, Tottenham, Acton, Welland, Woodbridge, Maple, Milton, Mississauga, St. Catherines, Markham and Ottawa…TWICE. Now, wouldn’t it be convenient and energy efficient if they could just travel through chimneys?

 

As the weather becomes more unpredictable it important to remember some warm weather safety tips like keeping flammable objects, such as papers, drapes, pillows and blankets away from the front of space heaters, keeping an eye on any young ones around heaters and fireplaces and making sure your heaters are in good working order with undamaged cords and plugs. On days when weather looks more like a Canadian winter and more people are inclined to stay indoors it’s important to also try and conserve electricity. Make sure your cords are unplugged on small appliances that are not in use or invest in a smart power bar which will do the work for you. Another tip is to open your curtain during the sunny days and allow nature to warm up your living space and then closing them once the sun goes down to trap in that nice heat.

 

We hope all the schools have enjoyed their presentations and if you school hasn’t had one in a while give us a call as we’d love to come and visit you!!!

 

 

                                                       

The week before Christmas Break is a busy one for all of us at ESandC and the schools. The kids are keeping parents, grandparents and guardians entertained with Christmas concerts, school dances, spirit days and learning all about holiday traditions around the world, not to mention bouncing off the walls from all the extra sugar and excitement. Teachers, Principals and school staff are busy organizing all of these special events and looking forward to the vacation time that awaits them at the end of the week. 

It’s also a busy week for all of the utility companies that we work with. Everyone is finalizing their year-end budgets and preparing for next year. As we are getting our approvals for next year’s budget we are contacting the schools, so if you haven’t heard from us yet, give us a call or email and we can schedule a date for 2019!!!

The holidays can be an expensive time of year for everyone. Between gifts, baking and hosting expenses the dollars really add up quickly. Here are some conservation tips to help you keep a few extra pennies in your pocket:

1 – Switch to LED Christmas Light – LED Christmas lights use 90% less electricity than regular Christmas lights, and can be purchased for around $10 a strand.

2 – Use Fibre Optic Decorations – Fibre optic trees and decorations are the ultimate in energy efficiency. In most cases, they use a single light bulb located at the base of the unit to light the entire decoration.

3 – Limit the Time Lights are on – Wait until dark to turn on your Christmas lights and then, turn them off before you go to bed. Six hours or less of daily use is a good goal to aim for. If you have trouble remembering to turn your lights on and off, then set a timer and forget about it. 

4 – Turn Off Room Lights When the Tree is Lit – The lights on your Christmas tree should provide more than enough lighting to navigate around the room. 

5 – Turn the Thermostat Down When You Have Guests – When you are throwing a holiday shindig, turn your thermostat down. The body heat from people gathered will heat your home, and turning down the heat will save money and prevent rooms from getting stuffy.

6 – Buy Gifts that Don’t Use Electricity or Batteries – According to energyquest.ca.gov, 40% of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season. That’s a lot of money spent on batteries and a lot of energy used! 

7 – Invest in Rechargeable Batteries and a Charger – If you buy or receive gifts that require batteries, consider purchasing rechargeable batteries and a charger.

8 – Buy Energy Star Electronics – Energy Star certified electronics – TVs, Blu-Ray players, and cordless phones, use up to 60% less electricity than their non-certified counterparts. Visit energystar.gov for a list of qualifying models or look for the Blue Star. 

9 – Take a Walk to See the Christmas Lights – Leave the car in the driveway this year when you go out to look at Christmas lights. A walking tour of your neighbourhood will be just as fun, won’t use any gas and help burn off some of those extra holiday pounds.

10 – Bake Several Dishes at a Time – The holiday season is a big time for baking. Make the most of your oven and the energy that goes into heating it, by cooking several dishes at once. Remember: it takes the same amount of energy to heat a full oven as it does a nearly-empty one. And don’t peek – 
Every time you open the oven door, the temperature drops by as much as 25%.

11 – Use the Smallest Appliance to Get the Job Done and Keep Lids on Pots – Use your microwave and toaster oven for small holiday cooking tasks; save the oven for big cooking tasks. Foods cook faster when the lid is on which in turn uses less energy.

12 – Unplug Phantom Energy Users Before You Go On Vacation – TVs, DVD players, computers, printers, radios and many other electronics use energy when they aren’t turned on. Unplug these items before you go on vacation, and enjoy the energy savings.