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■ play it safe Practical Pointers for


Electrical Safety Month It’s time to get back to safety basics


BYGUYDALE COORDINATOR OF SAFETY & LOSS CONTROL


M


ay is National Electrical Safety Month, and while Choctaw Electric Cooperative (CEC) makes safety a year-round priority, this is the time of year when safety gets the spotlight among all electric utilities. This year the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)is asking utilities to help raise awareness about potential home electrical hazards This year’s campaign, “Back to the Basics,” challenges all of us to make home electrical safety assessments a priority.


The average home today has a minimum of three televisions, two DVD players, at least one digital camera, one desktop computer,


and two cell phones. SOURCE: CONSUMER ELECTRONIC ASSOCIATION


There’s good reason for the return to practical safety awareness. The Consumer Electronics Association reports the average home today has a minimum of three televisions, two DVD players, at least one digital camera, one desktop computer, and two cell phones.


Our modern homes rely on electricity to power all these devices and more, but if you don’t properly maintain your electrical products they can create


hazards. The good news is that eliminating electrical hazards from your home doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.


Many homes on CEC lines were built before many of our modern-day home electronics and appliances were even invented. That can spell problems if the increased demand for energy overburdens an older home’s electrical system.


The following tips can help you identify and eliminate electrical hazards, and protect yourself, your family, and your home:


• Home entertainment centers and computer equipment give off heat when they operate. Make sure you provide plenty of space around them for ventilation.


• Use extension cords as a temporary solution, and never as a permanent power supply.


• Never place extension cords in high traffic areas, under carpets, or across walkways, where they pose a potential tripping hazard.


• Use a surge protector to protect your computer and other electronic equipment from damage caused by voltage changes. Make sure yours is a true surge protector and not just a power strip with extra outlets. They look the same, but a true surge protector will be clearly marked as such on the package label.


Too many power strips in your home is a sign of potential electrical trouble. To avoid problems, hire a qualified electrician to install more outlets.


• Heavy reliance on power strips is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have additional outlets installed by a qualified electrician.


• Keep soda pop, cups of coffee and other liquids away from electrical devices such as televisions and computers. One wrong move and you’ve ruined your equipment or created the potential for future problems.


Electrical safety awareness and education is key to helping co-op members, families, employees, and business owners avoid electrical fires, injuries, and fatalities. Think of it as the seatbelt for your home, and make it part of your regular routine. When a safety reminder becomes the cushion between you and a serious accident, you’ll be glad you gave it more than a second thought. ■


Guy Dale is coordinator of CEC employee safety programs and CPR courses for the community. To visit with him, please call 800-780-6486, ext. 227.


We’re Plugged in to Safety—and Savings!


Choctaw Electric employees put safety first—always. Their mindfulness has resulted in 4.4 million hours worked without a lost time accident, which results in substantial savings on workman’s compensation insurance.


12 | may 2014


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