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Putting safety fi rst this month – and throughout the year National Safety Month:


It’s May – and your cooperative is celebrating National Electrical Safety Month. While safety for our members is top priority year-round, Electrical Safety Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of safety excellence.


This year, we’re focusing on electri- cal safety in the home. Electricity is the cause of more than 140,000 fi res each year, resulting in more than 500 deaths, 4,000 injuries and $1.6 billion in property damage, accord- ing to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).


There are many measures you can take to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Use these helpful tips from ESFI to safeguard your home.


In the kitchen • Vacuum refrigerator coils every three months to eliminate dirt build- up that can reduce effi ciency and create fi re hazards.


• Ensure all countertop appliances are located away from the sink.


• All appliance cords should be placed away from hot surfaces. Pay particular attention to cords around toasters, ovens and ranges. Cords can be damaged by excess heat.


• The top and the area above the cooking range should be free of combustibles, such as potholders and plastic utensils. Storing these items on or near the range may result in fi res or burns.


Light the way to safety • The wattage of the bulbs you use in your home should match the wattage indicated on the light fi xture. Over- heated fi xtures can lead to a fi re.


• Check lamp cords to make sure they are in good condition – not dam- aged or cracked. Do not attempt to repair damaged cords yourself. Take any item with a damaged power cord to an authorized repair center.


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• Extension cords should not be used to provide power on a long-term or permanent basis. Have additional re- ceptacles installed by a professional to provide power where needed.


Be prepared • Nearly two-thirds of fi re deaths result from fi res in homes without working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be located on every level of your home, inside each bed- room and outside each sleeping area.


• Test smoke alarms every month. Batteries should be replaced at least once a year – or sooner if indicated in the manufacturers’ instructions. All smoke alarms should be re- placed at least every 10 years.


• Talk to your family about an emer- gency plan in the event of a fi re in your home. If you have small chil- dren, include them in planning an emergency escape route – they are more likely to remember the plan if they’re involved in creating it.


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