Safe Electricity offers tips for a fun, safe summer

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118229703912527.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.emergencemarketing.com‘, ‘Water and electricity never mix! Keep electronics like radios away from pools and hot tubs, and watch for overhead power lines when cleaning pools, sailing or fishing. Never install pools underneath or near power lines.‘);

SPRINGFIELD—The countdown is on! It’s time to get prepared for summer fun and making memories that will last a lifetime. As our families get ready for swimming, camping, ballgames, trips to the park, and generally more time spent outdoors, keep safety in your plans.

Children often do not understand the dangers of electricity. Take some time to get down and view the surroundings from a child’s vantage point to locate possible hazards.

“Your summer season will be more enjoyable and safe if you make sure children know and follow basic safety guidelines,” says Molly Hall, Safe Electricity executive director.

For safe outdoor play, Safe Electricity recommends children and adults follow these rules:

Stay away from electrical equipment on the ground and overhead. Never climb a utility pole or tower. Don’t play on or around pad-mounted electrical equipment. Electrical power poles and utility equipment should never be used as a playground.

Never climb trees near power lines. Even if the power lines aren’t touching the tree, they could touch when more weight is added to the branch.

Fly kites and model airplanes safely away from trees and overhead power lines. If a kite gets tangled in a tree that’s near power lines, don’t climb up to get it. Contact your electric utility for assistance.

Never go into an electric substation. Electric substations contain high-voltage equipment, which can kill you. Don’t retrieve a toy or rescue a pet that goes inside. Call your electric utility instead.

Look up and around you. Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long metal tools like ladders and pool skimmers.

Water and electricity never mix! Keep electronics like radios away from pools and hot tubs, and watch for overhead power lines when cleaning pools, sailing or fishing. Never install pools underneath or near power lines.

Be careful using electrical appliances outdoors. Whether it is a bug zapper, an electric charcoal lighter, or a radio or CD player, caution must be exercised. Be sure you use outlets that have weatherproof covers and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) to prevent serious shock injuries. Use portable GFCIs for outdoor outlets that don’t have them.

Keep electrical appliances and tools at least 10 feet away from pools, ponds and wet surfaces. “Electricity and water are a dangerous combination,” warns Hall. “Caution children and family members about the danger of using electrical appliances in wet areas—even wet grass can create a hazard.”

Supervise the use of extension cords outside, check them carefully for exposed wires; make sure they are in good shape, and not frayed or cracked. Use only extension cords that are rated and marked for outdoor use, and are large enough to handle the current needed for the device you are using. Check that the prongs on the extension cord plugs are clean, not broken or bent. Make sure the ground prong is intact in a three-prong plug, and avoid use of adapters.

Summer can signal an increase in accidents and injuries. Keep utility and emergency numbers close at hand.

“Remember, accidents and injuries are unexpected,” adds Hall. “Be prepared and proactive to make sure your family has great memories of summer 2007.”

For more information about electrical safety, visit www.SafeElectricity.org. Safe Electricity is an electrical safety public awareness program created and supported by a coalition of several dozen organizations, including electric companies and cooperatives, educators and other entities committed to promoting electrical safety.

from the June 20-26, 2007, issue

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