Co-ops Remind Members to Stay Safe While Using Electricity
Safety is the highest priority for North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, and we encourage our members to make safety a priority too. May is National Electrical Safety Month, but it’s important to take safety precautions year round. Here are some simple tips:
- Unplug it. Appliances, tools and other devices are still connected to electricity when they are plugged in, even if they are turned off. Turn off AND unplug all electric devices when you’re done using them.
- Inspect it. Examine electrical cords often for broken connectors or fraying, and throw away any worn cords. Buy only cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory. Also watch your wattage and only use light bulbs that don’t exceed the maximum wattage listed on your lamp or fixture.
- Check it. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets should be used in any area where water and electricity could mix—including kitchens, bathrooms, garages and outdoors—and should be tested monthly. You should also check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors once a month to ensure they are working properly.
- Overload it. Overloaded electrical circuits can cause residential fires. Never use extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliances. All major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, and you should only plug one heat-producing appliance into an outlet at a time.
- Extend it. Extension cords are not a permanent solution. If you’re using extension cords regularly, you may need extra outlets and should contact a licensed electrician.
- Touch it. Never go near or drive over a power line. If you encounter a downed line, leave the area immediately and notify your electric cooperative. Never place ladders, poles or other items near power lines, and don’t fly kites or drones near lines or substations. Teach children not to put their fingers in electrical outlets, use child-proof outlet covers and keep appliances and cords away from children. Also, never touch electrical appliances with wet hands or use them near sinks, tubs, toilets or showers.