‘Plug in to safety’ during Electrical Safety Month
Happy National Electrical Safety Month! Electricity is so essential in our lives that we can overlook possible hazards, even in the safety of our own homes.
Each year, accidents and fires involving electricity result in more than a thousand deaths and tens of thousands of injuries. The majority of those tragedies could be prevented with greater awareness of how to stay safe.That’s why Cuivre River Electric Cooperative wants you to “plug into safety” during National Electrical Safety Month and become even more aware of your surroundings when using electricity.
>> Work safely outdoors
After a storm, only cut down trees and limbs that are not tangled in power lines. Never be tempted to move any power or communication lines that are down or low hanging. Even if the main power is off, a neighbor could start a generator and create a potentially fatal back-feed of power through a transformer to an entire area.
Never attempt to move or raise a power line. Since electricity can’t be seen, always assume a line is live with power. Call for help. If you don’t have a cellphone handy, stay near the scene and remind others to stay away.
Missouri law requires that your electric utility company be notified when working within 10 feet of a power line. OSHA expands that zone for cranes and construction crews to notify the utility if the work is to be done at 20 feet or closer to a power line.
Cuivre River Electric Cooperative will assist with your underground and overhead power line safety requests and concerns.Be alert and watch for power lines when operating tall machinery or equipment outdoors. Adjust machinery or equipment to the lowest position before moving.
Before starting a digging project, Missouri law requires you to submit a utility locate request by contacting Missouri One Call by calling 8-1-1 or visiting www.mo1call.com. As a free service, an underground utility locator will mark power lines and other utilities that are buried at the work site. Use extreme caution when using a shovel or other digging tool. By calling to find out where underground utilities are buried, you avoid hazards and keep vital services (electricity, telephone, water and sewer) from being disrupted.
Look up for power lines before installing a satellite dish, antenna, solar panels, making roof repairs, trimming or pruning trees, or using long-handled tools.
Always carry a ladder horizontally. Before setting it up, check to see if power lines are located overhead or nearby.
Check outdoor electrical outlets for protective weatherproof covers and be sure GFCIs are operating properly by using the test button.
>> Be safe indoors, too
Electrical safety also applies to the time we spend indoors.
To avoid a potential fire hazard, don’t overload electric outlets.
Look for the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark on appliances and other electrical items. The UL mark shows that these models have been tested and meet UL’s rigorous safety requirements.
Resist connecting multiple extension cords together. If needed, purchase a longer extension cord to prevent a possible fire hazard. Avoid placing extension cords under rugs or in high traffic areas.
If your piece of toast or bagel gets stuck in the toaster, make sure to unplug the toaster before trying to get the food out.
Check electrical cords for cracks or frayed wires before plugging something into the outlet.
Keep an eye out for potential electrical dangers in the bathroom. Make sure to keep radios, hair dryers and other electrical items away from sinks, showers, toilets or tubs which contain water.