Safety Zone

Electric Safety Tips

Electricity is the most widely used energy source in the world, however it is often taken for granted. Most accidents involving electricity can be traced to three causes:

  1. Lack of knowledge about using electrical equipment
  2. Careless use of equipment
  3. Faulty electrical equipment or cords

Did You Know? The electricity needed to light a 7.5 watt Christmas tree bulb is enough to seriously or fatally injure an adult.


  • Never touch or try to move a downed power line or other damaged electrical equipment. Contact Huntsville Utilities immediately by using this form or calling 256-535-1200. Make sure no one else goes near the power line or damaged facilities. Click Here to Report a Problem
  • Keep ladders, kites and other tall equipment out of power lines and out of trees that are near power lines. Do not try to trim a tree that is in a power line. Contact Huntsville Utilities to request tree trimming by using this form. Click Here to Report a Problem
  • Check electrical cords to ensure they are in good shape. If they are frayed or damaged in any way, do not use them. Also, shield electrical cords from excessive wear or damage. Place them where they will not be stepped on or subject to heat or water. Do not pull on cords to unplug them (pull from the plug), and do not twist or kink cords.
  • Turn off lights when changing a bulb and unplug appliances to clean or service them.
  • Turn appliances off or unplug them when not in use.
  • Never use an electric appliance while you were wet, standing in water or in the rain.
  • Never use an electric appliance that may be damaged or has a damaged electric cord.
  • Teach children to stay away from electrical outlets and not to play with electric appliances. If an appliance has a third prong (grounding prong) on the cord, make sure it is plugged into an outlet or extension cord that will accept the third prong. Never remove the third prong so that the appliance can be plugged into a two prong receptacle.
  • In case of an electrical fire, call the fire department, disconnect the breaker that provides electrical service to the appliance on fire, or disconnect the main breaker. If you can safely unplug an appliance that is on fire then do so. Never try to extinguish an electrical fire with water. Use baking soda or an extinguisher rated for electrical fires. It is a good idea to make sure all adults and older children in the home know where the breaker panel for the home is and how to disconnect the main breaker. Breaker panels should be labeled as detailed as possible.
  • In the event of an electrocution, disconnect the power if the source is known and accessible. In the event a person is touching a downed power line or other damaged facilities belonging to Huntsville Utilities, call Huntsville Utilities immediately at 256-53-LIGHT (256-535-4448) and be prepared to give the location (address). Never touch a person that is being electrocuted or in contact with electric power lines until power has been disconnected. To assist before power has been disconnected, could cause the person assisting to be seriously or fatally injured. Call for medical help (local hospital or 911), and if knowledgeable in first aid, administer.

Natural Gas Safety Tips

  • Never store household chemicals or combustible materials near a natural gas appliance.
  • Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when operating or doing work on gas appliances.
  • Keep burners on all natural gas appliances clean.
  • Make sure flames burn blue. A yellow flame indicates inefficient burning and can be hazardous.
  • Natural gas, in its native form, is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.  Huntsville Utilities injects a very detectable odor into the natural gas before it enters the local pipeline system.  The odorant smells like rotten eggs.
  • If the odor of natural gas is detected, ventilate the building. If the odor is very strong, get out of the building. Do not light matches or operate any equipment including electrical switches, light switches or on/off switches.  These can easily cause a spark. Use a neighbor’s phone to call the Natural Gas Department to report a natural gas leak at 256-53-LIGHT (256-535-4448).
  • Have the furnace or central heating unit checked at least once a year, before the heating season, to ensure it is operating efficiently.
  • Always have natural gas equipment serviced by a professional.
  • Never block the return air vents as this can lead to an unsafe condition in the home.
  • Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home or place of business.
  • Do not use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (for instance, do not use one to heat your home).

Preparing Your Natural Gas Heating System for the Winter

Huntsville Utilities recommends an annual inspection by a professional heating appliance service provider to ensure safe, efficient operation of your natural gas heating system. This professional inspection should include:

  • Install clean filters.
  • Oil fan motor and check drive belts.
  • Clean rust and dirt from burners.
  • Inspect vents and ensure all vents are properly connected.
  • Inspect all air intakes or outlets and ensure they are open and unobstructed.
  • If your home is equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, ensure that it is in good working order.

Generator Safety

An increasing number of homeowners are using generators to supply power during outages. Improper operation and installation can lead to electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning and even death to members of your household and utility workers.

Huntsville Utilities recommends contacting a licensed electrician to determine the generator size and proper installation configuration to meet your usage level in a safe, efficient manner.

Click here to download the Huntsville Utilities Generator Safety Brochure

Click here to download the Huntsville Utilities Generator Safety Tips.

Generator Safety – Backfeed Protection video

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas produced when any fuel, such as charcoal, gasoline, wood, or natural gas is burned. If natural gas appliances are not maintained, adjusted and operated properly, carbon monoxide can be produced. If the burner of a natural gas appliance is properly adjusted and has an adequate air supply, the usual byproducts are carbon dioxide and water vapor.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Sleepiness

If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, seek medical assistance immediately by dialing 911 and move the victim to a well-ventilated area. Be sure to open the doors to help ventilate the area. Then, call Huntsville Utilities at 256-535-4448 or call a licensed appliance repair center.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home:

  • Make sure all natural gas appliances, such as the water heater and space heaters are vented outside.
  • Inspect and clean the vents annually.
  • Examine the flame as it burns; a properly adjusted burner will produce a steady blue flame with very small amounts of yellow or orange. If the flame is yellow or orange, call a licensed appliance repair service to have the equipment adjusted.
  • Huntsville Utilities Natural Gas customers may call the Gas Department at 256-532-8343 for a free carbon monoxide inspection.

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Huntsville Utilities is an equal opportunity residential utility service provider. We do not discriminate in the terms, conditions, or provision of services based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.

Huntsville Utilities es un proveedor de servicios residenciales publicos (electricidad, gas y agua) que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades. Nosotros no discriminamos en los terminos, las condiciones, o las provisiones de nuestros servicios basados en la raza, religion, color, sexo, discapacidad, estado familiar u origen nacional.