May celebrates electrical safety and some simple steps can help
There is a day for almost everything imaginable; National Spaghetti Day, National Pizza Day, National Purple Day, National Dr. Seuss Day, and National Mickey Mouse Birthday Day among others.
All true. You can look it up.
Some things, however, are so important they are dedicated an entire month.
Such is the case in May, when guest speakers appear in schools across the nation to teach electrical safety.
But education should not be limited to youth. The month’s effort is to promote electrical safety in the home, school, and workplace stressing awareness of possible hazards and avoiding potentially serious injury.
“The advice easiest to follow is to avoid doing any electrical work you are not qualified to do,” said Rick Campos, manager of engineering, operations, and energy services. “Electricity is an asset to our everyday lives, but some people forget about the dangers that can lie behind a wall or panel.
“It is better to call a professional and spend a few dollars than to wake up in a hospital room or worse.”
For those do-it-yourself members, don’t leave anything to chance. Never assume it is safe to work on an electrical outlet just because a breaker has been flipped off. Use a voltage tester to verify electrical circuits are de-energized prior to working on electrical projects.
Some safety tips are as simple as replacing broken or missing wall plates. These outlet covers don’t simply cover a gap in the wall, they exist for protection, preventing fingers from contacting wires.
Other tips may require breaking long-term bad habits.
“Removing plugs from a socket by pulling on the cord may seem easier than bending over, but that simple step can add to the longevity of electronic products and help prevent injury,” Campos said.
Turns out yanking on cords, especially over the long term, is a bad idea. This practice can cause cords to snap and potentially damage the plug, which could cause a fire.
Another dangerous practice involves poor decisions when trying to hide unsightly extension cords.
“Cords running around the house can be unsightly and potentially dangerous,” Campos said. “Left in the open in areas with foot traffic could lead to tripping accidents, but throwing them under a carpet or stapling them to a wall can have dire results.”
Placing cords under carpets or stapling them can lead to an electrical fire or electrocution.
“The best method is to use only the amount of cord needed to reach and socket and wrap up excess cord with a cable or zip tie,” Campos said. “Keeping the cords tied is not only a safe practice but will keep the cords from becoming tangled and difficult to separate.”
There is a great deal of advice to provide for those spending time in the kitchen. For those using a traditional toaster, metal objects should never be used to dislodge a trapped piece of toast while it is still plugged in.
Because water is prevalent in the kitchen, a good practice is to make sure nothing electrical is next to a sink and hands are perfectly dry when using or unplugging such items.
“Our goal is to provide a safe and reliable source of electricity,” Campos said. “With members taking just a few precautionary steps, the safety factor rises. Use Electrical Safety Month as a springboard to adopting new habits at home, school, and work.”