Starkville Utilities Observes National Electrical Safety Month in May

Learn how to protect your family and home from electrical and fire hazards

In recognition of National Electrical Safety Month in May, Starkville Utilities is encouraging customers to learn about the main causes of electrically related fires, fatalities, injuries and property loss and steps they can take to prevent them.

“Safety is a commitment we live by every day in the utility industry, and we’re also focused on promoting public safety,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Since launching the Renew Principle two years ago, we’ve communicated more with customers about seasonal safety tips to keep their families, homes and businesses safe. National Electrical Safety Month is another opportunity to keep safety in the forefront.”

When it comes to electrical safety, few industries can rival electric utilities for enforcing rigorous training requirements and workplace standards. Line workers also are equipped with a variety of tools and devices to work safely around electricity, including rubber gloves and sleeves, fire-resistant clothing and safety harnesses to prevent falls.

“We focus on safety because we want to go home at the end of the day to our families,” said David Leal, general foreman. “We know how inconvenient it is for customers to lose power, and that’s why we never waste time responding to outages. But we also make sure we do everything step by step to get the job done safely and correctly.”

That’s good advice for the general public, too. While most customers aren’t electrical experts, they can learn how to recognize hazardous conditions, such as malfunctioning equipment, and take action to prevent them from becoming life-threatening.

Electrical malfunctions account for 35,000 home fires each year, causing over 1,130 injuries, 500 deaths and $1.4 billion in property damage, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International. ESFI reports that the average American home was built in 1977, meaning many homes can’t handle the demands of today’s electrical appliances and devices.

The following are warning signs of an overloaded electrical system:

  • Frequent tripping of circuit breakers or blowing of fuses.
  • Dimming of lights when other devices are turned on.
  • Buzzing sound from switches or outlets.
  • Discolored outlets.
  • Appliances that seem underpowered.

To avoid overloading circuits, label circuit breakers to understand the different circuits in your home. If your home is 40 years old or has had a major appliance installed, have it inspected by a qualified electrician, who also can install new circuits for high-energy use devices.

Below are 10 household electrical safety and fire-prevention precautions every homeowner should know and follow. Always remember to ask a professional if you are uncertain about the safety of an electrical outlet or appliance.

  • Install smoke alarms and test them regularly.
  • Check that you are using the correct wattage in your fixtures and appliances.
  • Never overload an electrical socket with too many plugs.
  • Replace or repair damaged electrical cords to keep your home safe.
  • Keep your used and unused cords tidy and secure to prevent damage.
  • Keep electrical devices and outlets away from water to prevent shock.
  • Give your appliances proper space for air circulation to avoid overheating.
  • Ensure that all exhaust fans are clean to prevent fire hazards.
  • Always follow appliance instructions for improved electrical safety.
  • Be aware of heaters and water heaters to prevent potential accidents.

More safety tips are available under the “Residential” tab and at

“Learning a few tips to improve electrical safety is a worthwhile investment of time that could potentially save lives,” Kemp said. “That’s why safety is always top of mind at Starkville Utilities and why it will continue being a focus area in our customer communications.”

Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.

We are a Water and Electric Utilities Company in Starkville