Electricity is an indispensable part of our lives, but it also poses potential hazards if not handled properly. During National Electrical Safety Month, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are focused on raising awareness of the dangers of electricity for members, employees and the community and providing resources to promote safety when interacting with electrically powered devices.
“From powering our homes and vehicles to keeping our broadband internet online, we must continue to find ways to raise awareness around electrical safety,” said Farris Leonard, director of job training and safety for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “Although electricity is something that we utilize every day, it is important that we prioritize safety practices that can eliminate hazards for cooperative members.”
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, home electrical systems account for about 31,000 fires and 200 deaths each year in the United States. In the workplace, electricity is one of the leading causes of fatalities and injuries. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports that contact with electricity accounted for 1,653 workplace fatalities between 2011 and 2021. Additionally, 69 percent of these fatalities occurred in non-electrical related occupations.
This month, and throughout the year, co-ops urge members to practice safe electricity habits to reduce the risk of electrocution, injury or fire. Here are simple ways you can help keep yourself and your family safe:
- Don’t overload power outlets.
- Inspect electrical cords often for broken connectors or fraying. Throw away any worn cords to eliminate the possibility of shock, short circuit, or fire.
- Use plug covers in outlets if you have young children. Teach them never to put their fingers in electrical outlets or appliances and keep cords and electrical devices away from them.
- Keep in mind that appliances, even if turned off, are still connected to electricity until they are unplugged. Turn off and unplug all portable electrical appliances, like hairdryers and toasters, when you’re finished using them, and remember to always unplug appliances before cleaning or repairing them.
- Stay away from power lines. If you encounter a downed line, leave the area immediately and notify your cooperative or call 911. Never place ladders, poles or other items near power lines, and don’t drive over downed lines.
In addition to sharing safety resources, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives routinely partner with schools and other organizations in their local communities to conduct electrical safety demonstrations designed to keep members and their families safe.
For more electrical safety tips and resources, contact your local electric cooperative or visit www.ncelectriccooperatives.com/outages-and-safety/electrical-safety/.