Spring Forward into Safety by Avoiding Electrical Hazards

Follow these safety tips when working and playing outdoors

STARKVILLE – Now that Starkville residents have sprung forward into spring and are spending more time outdoors, Starkville Utilities wants to make sure they work and play safely by avoiding electrical hazards.

“Electricity is such an integral part of our lives that sometimes we forget that it’s all around us,” said Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “We’re encouraging customers to take a few moments to review these safety tips so they’ll be better prepared to avoid potential hazards in their homes and yards.”

First on the list is power lines. Always know the location of power lines and stay at least 10 feet away from lines and their connections. High-voltage electricity can jump to anyone who gets too close, causing serious and even fatal injuries, which means kids should never climb trees near electrical lines.

High winds also can increase hazards by blowing large objects such as ladders, pool skimmers and pruning poles out of your control. That’s why it’s important to be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house or trimming limbs and vegetation away from power lines. From a safety perspective, it’s worth it to hire a licensed tree service instead.

In addition to overhead lines, customers should avoid contacting underground utilities. Call 811 at least three days before installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree or any other digging activity to have professional locators mark utility-owned underground lines.

Here are additional safety tips to follow when working outdoors this spring:

  • Practice ladder safety. Use wooden or fiberglass ladders outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity. Always wear non-skid shoes and ensure that the ladder is stabilized on level ground.
  • Check outdoor outlets. During rainy winter months, moisture can seep into uncovered outlets. Be sure to check outside outlets for signs of damage and make sure they are covered properly in all seasons.
  • Inspect electric tools for damage to cords, plugs and wiring. Take them to a qualified professional for repair.
  • Make sure tools are in the “off” position before plugging them in or unplugging.
  • If it’s raining or the ground is wet, don’t use electric power or yard tools.
  • Never use an indoor extension cord outdoors. Outdoor cords are labeled “For Outdoor Use” and are usually orange. Never attempt to extend the length of an extension cord by connecting it with another extension cord and make sure the amperage rating for the extension cord is higher than the amperage of the electrical product being used.
  • Make sure your fire extinguisher is not expired. Fire extinguishers lose their charge over time. Inspect your fire extinguisher to make sure it can put out an electrical fire and that it has not lost its charge.
  • Keep a storm-readiness kit stocked with first-aid supplies, flashlights and radios with extra batteries, a three-day supply of food and water, an adapter to charge cell phones, and other essential needs. Learn more at

Additional safety tips are available at

“Safety is a year-round focal point for Starkville Utilities, and we want customers to take safety seriously, too,” Kemp said. “Safety awareness is part of our Renew Principle commitment to communicate proactively with customers and share helpful information that makes a positive impact on their lives.”

Starkville Utilities is a municipally owned and operated electric and water utility, serving more than 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville as well as the state’s largest institution of higher learning, Mississippi State University.

We are a Water and Electric Utilities Company in Starkville