Celebrate Spring by Making Safety Your Priority
Follow these tips to avoid common outdoor hazards
STARKVILLE – Spring is a perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors, but it’s also the season when accidents and injuries tend to increase. Starkville Utilities reminds customers to play it safe when doing yardwork, spring cleaning, home renovations and other activities that can potentially put them in harm’s way.
“Raising awareness is always the first step in creating a safe work environment,” said Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “By taking a few moments to review these safety tips, our customers will be better prepared to avoid potential hazards in their homes and yards this spring.”
The first rule of safety is staying away from power lines. Customers are advised to stay at least 10 feet from power lines and immediately report downed lines to Starkville Utilities. Even if you don’t come in contact with a line, electricity can arc to nearby objects and people, causing serious and even fatal injuries.
While trimming vegetation away from power lines can prevent power outages, especially during the high-wind storm season, it’s definitely best to hire a licensed tree service to do the job.
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:
- Look up and around. Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long tools like ladders, pool skimmers and pruning poles. Be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house, keeping in mind that wind can blow large objects out of your control.
- Practice ladder safety. Always wear non-skid shoes and ensure that the ladder is stabilized on level ground. It’s best to have a partner hold the ladder for you, but if you must use a ladder alone, always let someone know first.
- 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.
- 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.
- Inspect electric tools for damage to cords, plugs and wiring. Take them to a qualified professional for repair.
- 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 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 www.ready.gov.
Additional safety tips are available on Starkville Utilities’ website.
Customers also may visit Safe Electricity and Electrical Safety Foundation International for more information about preventing electrical hazards.
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.