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JANUARY 2013  PAGE 7 PLAY IT SAFE


your CO-OP


Find the lucky lightbulb at www.choctawelectric.coop


A lucky light bulb is hidden on the Choctaw Electric Cooperative website, www.choctawelectric. coop. Find it and you could win $25! If you spot the lucky lightbulb, please email Lois Ann Beason at lbeason@choctawelectric. coop.


Keep your space heater at least 3 ft. away from yourself and flammable items like blankets, drapes, and rugs. Source: U.S. Fire Administration


Staying warm—and safe this winter


Use electric blankets and space heaters with caution BY GUY DALE coordinator of safety & loss control





hazards that can accompany these devices should not be taken for granted. Here are a few safety tips for electric blankets and heating pads to keep in mind:


W • • •


Purchase items only if they have been approved by an independent testing facility, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).


Inspect all cords and connections for cracks and frayed edges, which are a huge fire and injury hazard. Replace blankets or heating pads with faulty cords.


Discard your blanket or heating pad if you see dark or charred spots on the surface.


• Don’t put another cover on top of an electric blanket unless the safety instructions included state that it’s safe to do so. Some newer models protect against overheating.





Once your electric blanket or heating pad is switched on, keep it laid flat—a folded device or tucked in device can cause a fire because it bends wires.


hen used properly, electric blankets and other heating devices can help keep you warm during a cold snap. But the potential


Never use heated bedding while asleep—look for a model with a timer that switches off automatically.


Space heaters


If you use a space heater for extra heat, some of the same rules apply, including purchasing a UL-certified model and reading the safety instructions. More tips:


• •


Keep units three ft. away from bedding, drapes, clothes, and other combustibles.


Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it’s the correct type and is the right wire gauge for your space heater.





Check safety instructions before using a space heater around water—some models are not intended for use in bathrooms.


• •


Be sure children are supervised around space heaters. Overly curious kids can suffer electrical shock and burns.


Finally, unplug and store the space heater in a safe place when you’re not using it.


Guy Dale oversees all safety programs for CEC. He also teaches CPR classes for the public. To schedule a CPR course, please call him at 800-780-6486, ext. 227.


Develop good seeing / scanning habits


Scanning is a way to view the “total traffic scene” as you drive. It prevents tunnel vision that can isolate you from what is going on in the distance as well as all around your vehicle.


The elements of scanning include: •


Rather than focusing on the back of a car in front of you, look at least a block ahead (city driving) or a quarter mile ahead (rural driving).


• Move your eyes occasionally to either side of the road to anticipate dangers coming from the sides of the road or cross streets.





Checking your rear and side view mirrors periodically.


The benefits of scanning are: • •


Remaining alert and prepared for hazards or conflicts ahead.


Identifying problems and adjusting your driving early.


CEC offers AARP defensive driving classes for the public. To enroll or to schedule a class for a group or organization, please contact Brad Kendrick, 800-780-6486, ext 248.


AARP DRIVER SAFETY TIP


CEC


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