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■ play it safe


Look Up, Stay Alert


Heading outdoors for work or play? Do it safely.


BY GUY DALE COORDINATOR OF SAFETY & LOSS CONTROL


I • •


enjoy spring weather as much as anyone, but when I see people climbing ladders, trimming trees and doing outdoor chores, I tend to get a little anxious. I want to remind them to look up and be alert for power lines and other electrical hazards. I know as well as anyone that when you’re outdoors working or having fun, it’s extremely easy to forget what’s going on around or above you. When that happens you leave yourself vulnerable to accidents and injury.


This spring, please make safety a priority for yourself—and every member of your family.


For kids


• Never fly a kite on a rainy day or anywhere but an open space. A high point in the sky makes a kite a grounding point for lightning, and kites could easily become tangled in power lines.


Don’t climb trees that are near power lines and poles—evergreens and tree leaves can disguise dangers.


Stay far away from power lines lying on the ground. You can’t tell if electricity is still flowing through them. If there’s water nearby, don’t go in it. Water is the best conductor of electricity.


• •


Obey signs that say “danger” and “keep out” around large electrical equipment, like substations. These signs aren’t warnings; they’re commands to keep you safe. Never climb a power pole.


Lingering winter storms and the onset of spring storms can bring down power lines and poles. When outdoor activities begin, remember to stay away from downed lines; you can’t tell if electricity is still flowing through them. PHOTO/FEMA.


For adults •


If power lines run through your trees, call Choctaw Electric Cooperative or a professional tree trimmer with proper protective equipment that can trim branches safely.


• Remember that power lines and other utilities run underground, too. Call 811 to have utility lines marked before you start digging.


• •


Starting that winter cleanup yard work? Sweep dried leaves and debris from outdoor receptacles.


If you haven’t done so already, consider upgrading your outdoor receptacles—or any outlets that could come in contact with water—to ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs immediately interrupt power flow when a plugged-in


device comes in contact with water. Be sure to keep your outlets and cords dry and covered outside.


• Use only weather-resistant, heavy-duty extension cords marked for outdoor use.





Don’t leave outdoor power tools unattended for curious children or animals to find.


Remember, if you spot a downed powerline or any other type of hazardous electrical situation, stay at a safe distance and call Choctaw Electric Cooperative (800-780-6486) or 911 immediately. We take your safety seriously. ■


Guy Dale oversees safety programs for Choctaw Electric Cooperative. He also teaches electrical safety classes. To schedule a class, please call him at 800-780-6486, ext. 227.


Danger Ranger helps kids stay safe 


Choctaw Electric’s Danger Ranger teaches children from pre-K through


second grade how to stay safe around electricity. Through a media-rich interactive video game, kids learn about electrical safety in a way that is stimulating and fun.


12 | march 2013


For more information, please send email to Jia Johnson, jjohnson@choctawelectric. coop, or Brad Kendrick, bakendrick@ choctawelectric.coop. Or reach them by telephone at 800-780-6486, ext. 248.


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