Prioritize safety year-round

Posted on May 02 2022 in Decatur County REMC
Brett Abplanalp

May is designated as Electrical Safety Month, but we know it’s important to practice safety year-round. 

Everyone – from Decatur County REMC’s crews to you, the members we serve — should prioritize safety.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, thousands of people in the U.S. are critically injured or electrocuted in electrical fires and accidents in their own homes, but many of these accidents are preventable. 

Electricity is a necessity, and it powers our daily lives. But we know firsthand how dangerous electricity can be because we work with it 365 days a year. 

To me, safety is more than a catchphrase. As CEO, it’s my responsibility to keep co-op employees safe. Additionally, we want to help keep you and all members of our community safe. That’s why you’ll see Decatur County REMC hosting safety demonstrations at community events and in schools throughout the year to demonstrate the dangers of electricity. We discuss emergency scenarios, such as what to do in a car accident involving a utility pole and downed power lines. We caution students on the dangers of pad-mounted transformers and overloading circuits with too many electronic devices. 

Electricity is an integral part of modern life. Given the prevalence of electrical devices, tools and appliances, I’d like to pass along a few practical electrical safety tips:

If you are in a vehicle that collides with a utility pole, stay in your car until emergency crews and electric company personnel arrive. Power lines could detach from the pole and make contact with your vehicle, putting you in danger of electrocution if you exit the vehicle. The only time you should leave the vehicle is if it’s on fire, and then you should jump with both feet out of the vehicle and hop away to safety.

Frayed wires pose a serious safety hazard. Power cords can become damaged or frayed from age, heavy use or excessive current flow through the wiring. If cords become frayed or cut, replace them, as they could cause a shock when handled. 

Avoid overloading circuits. Circuits can only cope with a limited amount of electricity. Overload happens when you draw more electricity than a circuit can safely handle by having too many devices running on one circuit. 

Use extension cords properly. Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord. “Daisy chaining” them together could lead to overheating, creating a potential fire hazard. Don’t exceed the wattage of the cord, or you risk overloading the cord and creating a fire hazard.

Talk with your kids about playing it safe and smart around electricity. Warn them about overhead power lines near where they play outdoors. 

Our top priority is providing an uninterrupted energy supply 24/7, 365 days per year. But equally important is keeping our community safe around electricity. 

It’s right there in our mission statement: Where safety is the standard and members are the priority.