Get ready for a fun, safe summer
The kids are eager to say goodbye to school for the summer, suit up and jump in the backyard pool, play in the sprinkler or spray their playmates with water from a garden hose. Whether it’s fun around home, at a nearby park, or other gathering place, be alert for potential electrical hazards, make repairs or upgrades where necessary and make sure everyone knows how to play safely.
“The loss of a family member is devastating, and all family members should be on the lookout for potential danger,” says Mike Mead, Cass County Electric Cooperative (CCEC) manager of safety. “Remember the story of 12-year old Caitlyn Mackenzie, who had enjoyed a day of swimming and was electrocuted as
she attempted to move an electric lamp. Her tragic accident underscores the importance of groundfault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection on outdoor outlets, as well as avoiding contact with electrical appliances when you are damp or wet.“
If you have water sprites around your home this summer, protect them with either permanent GFCIs, or extension cords with a GFCI, to ensure their safety.
For safe outdoor play, CCEC recommends that children and adults follow these rules:
- 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. Never touch an electrical appliance if you are wet; always dry off completely.
- 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 CCEC 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 CCEC instead.
“Use caution when plugging in electrical appliances outdoors,” Mead says. “Such handy items as radios or bug zappers can generate an electric shock. Exterior outlets should have weather-proof covers as well as GFCIs to prevent serious injuries. Electrical items should be kept at least 10 feet away from water or wet surfaces, like wet or dew-covered grass.”
Extension cords are a necessity in every home to help get electricity to where it is needed. But they are only as good as their insulating quality. Inspect cords to ensure there are no bare wires or places where water could invade the cord. 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.
Summertime brings storms that can sometimes create danger from both lightning and fallen power lines, Mead says.
“It’s a good idea to keep utility emergency numbers close at hand and know what to do after a storm,” he says.
If you see a downed power line, stay far away from it and anything touching it. Call CCEC. Warn others to stay clear of the line. Assume that all downed power lines are energized. Here’s to a safe and enjoyable summer for your family. Learn more at www.CassCountyElectric.com/safety-blog.