This Spring, Put Safety First on Your To-Do List

Use these tips to avoid electrical and outdoor hazards

STARKVILLE – April is the cruelest month according to a famous poem—and for good reason when it comes to safety. Spending more time outside in the spring increases our exposure to electrical hazards and slips, trips and falls. As the season changes along with our daily habits, it helps to keep safety top of mind.

“Injuries and accidents tend to increase during springtime when people are outdoors working in their yards and on their homes,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “We’re reminding customers to play it safe by taking precautions to protect themselves and their families.”

“Stay away from power lines” is a year-round mantra for public safety. Power lines carry high-voltage electricity that can cause serious injuries and even fatalities. Stay at least 10 feet away from lines and their connections, and never climb trees or trim branches near electrical lines.

When planting trees, make sure not to plant them directly under or within at least 25 feet of power lines for short trees and at least 40 feet away for medium-sized trees.

“Stay away” also applies to underground utilities, including electric, natural gas, water and cable services. 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.

Always pay attention to the weather. If it’s windy, avoid working on ladders and handling large objects like pruning poles and pool skimmers that can be blown out of your control and into power lines. If it’s raining or the ground is wet, don’t use electric power or yard tools.

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.
  • Improve walkways and driveways by repairing cracks and broken or uneven surfaces to provide a safer, level walking area.
  • Check your air conditioning unit for indications of leaks. Make sure your AC system is ready for warmer weather by having it inspected and tuned up by a professional.
  • Inspect electric tools for damage to cords, plugs and wiring. Make sure tools are in the “off” position before plugging them in or unplugging.
  • Never use an indoor extension cord outdoors. Outdoor cords are labeled “For Outdoor Use” and are usually orange.
  • Confirm your fire extinguisher is not expired. Inspect it to ensure that it has not lost its charge and can put out an electrical fire.
  • Inspect smoke detectors to ensure they’re in working order and test them monthly.
  • 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
“Safety is a critical focus area for Starkville Utilities that starts with being aware of the hazards in our environment,” said Kemp. “That’s also a mindset that can keep customers safe when they’re doing home and yard project. We encourage customers to call if they have questions about power lines near their property or any issues concerning safety.”

Safety tips also are posted on the utility’s website for a variety of situations. Additional safety tips are available at

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