May is Electrical Safety Month
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are encouraging co-op members to take time to talk to your family about safe electricity practices in May in recognition of National Electrical Safety Month. Start by sharing these simple tips:
- Never put anything other than an electrical plug in an outlet. Use outlet covers to protect children.
- Examine electrical cords often for fraying or cracking, and throw away any worn cords.
- Extension cords are for temporary use. They are not intended for use as permanent home wiring.
- Don’t run cords under carpets or rugs.
- 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.
- Never touch electrical appliances with wet hands or use them near sinks, tubs, toilets or showers.
- Don’t use extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliances. All major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
- Never go near or drive over a power line. If you encounter a downed line, stay far away and notify ABC EMC at
- Keep kites, model airplanes and metallic balloons away from powerlines.
- Watch for overhead lines with using a ladder, working on a roof or carrying a long tool.
- Call 811 before any digging project.
- If it is necessary to use a portable generator, always operate the generator outdoors in an open area. Use an extension cord to connect the generator directly to the appliance, and ensure the extension cord has three-prongs and is rated for the amount of power used by the appliance. Do not connect generators directly to household wiring unless the work is completed by a licensed electrician. This prevents backfeeding, which could electrocute utility workers.
Because electric cooperatives serve many of our state’s rural areas, cooperatives also encourage farmers and those working in the agriculture industry be extra aware when working around power infrastructure for safe operation of farm equipment. Farm safety tips from the Energy Education Council include:
- Keep yourself and equipment at least 10 feet away from power lines in all directions, at all times.
- Use a spotter when moving tall equipment and loads.
- Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern tractors with higher antennas.
- Always lower equipment extensions, portable augers, or elevators to their lowest possible level, under 14 feet, before moving or transporting them. Wind, uneven ground, shifting weight, or other conditions can cause you to lose control of equipment and make contact with power lines.
Electric cooperatives are proud to make electrical safety a priority in May and all year long, and we encourage our members to make it a priority for their families, too. For more information, contact your local cooperative or visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International at ESFI.org.