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Summer safety topic: water and electricity


Learn these life-saving lessons W


HETHER it’s swimming, boating or fishing, summertime means water recreation for millions across the U.S. But don’t let safety hazards dampen your summer fun while enjoying water activities. Electricity is essential energy—it keeps us cool in the


summer, lights our home, keeps the refrigerator cold, and powers the television, stereo and computer. But electricity also can be dangerous. It doesn’t take much power to hurt someone—less than one-fifth of the electricity it takes to light a bulb can kill an adult.


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends installing and using ground-fault circuit- interrupters (GFCIs) for protection against shock hazards involving electrical circuits and underwater lighting circuits in and around pools, spas, and hot tubs. According to the CPSC, deaths and serious shocks occur in and around swimming pools each year. Assessing electrical hazards near areas of water is a wise investment of time and personal energy. Contact between water and electricity can be serious, or even deadly.


Northeast Oklahoma Electric Coop- erative offers the following tips to stay safe in or around water: • Do not put electrical appliances within five feet of a swimming pool. • Electrical outlets within twenty feet of a pool should


be equipped with GCFIs. • Pools and decks should be built at least five feet away


from all underground electrical lines and at least 25 feet away from overhead electrical lines. • Never swim during thunderstorms. • Use battery-operated appliances near swimming pools.


• If a swimmer has been shocked or electrocuted, don’t dive in yourself or you could be electrocuted as well. Turn off the power and use a fiberglass shepherd’s hook to pull the victim out of the water. • Never touch electrical appliances when you are wet or


standing in water. Sprinklers and hoses should be located well away from electrical outlets or appliances. Take necessary precautions around larger bodies of water as well. If you plan to go boating or fishing, be aware of your surroundings and potential electrical hazards. Always check the location of


nearby power lines before boating or fishing. Contact between your boat and a power line could be devastat- ing. Maintain a distance of at least ten feet between your boat and nearby power lines to be safe.


If your boat does come in contact with a power line, never jump out of the boat into the water—the water could be energized. Instead, stay in the boat and avoid touching anything metal until help arrives or until your boat is no longer in contact with the line. • Be sure dockside outlets have


ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection and check cords that are plugged into them to make sure there is no broken casing or exposed wires. • Check for the location of power lines before fishing. Make sure you are casting the line away from power lines to avoid contact. Remember, if electrical safety hazards are taken into consideration and handled proactively, accidents and deaths can be prevented.


Northeast Connection 10


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