Our first priority is safety. Starkville Utilities is focused on maintaining a strong safety culture for employees through continuous training and certification programs and by investing in proper personal protective equipment and other injury- and hazard-prevention tools.
We also promote safety awareness to protect the public. It is important to use extreme caution around electricity. Electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks and electrocution (death). Remember that electricity is always trying to go somewhere and travels easily through materials such as metal, water, trees, the ground, and objects with water in them – like animals and people.
Following are electrical safety tips for multiple situations. If ever in doubt about the safety of power lines or our equipment, simply call Starkville Utilities at 662-323-3133. For more information, visit ESFi
Power lines bring electricity from generating plants to our communities and into our homes. They are a vital part of the electrical transmission and distribution system, but they can also be dangerous.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Always assume a downed power line is live and life-threatening.
- Keep children and pets away from downed lines.
- Do not attempt to remove a person or animal caught in power lines. Call 911 for help.
- Do not attempt to remove tree limbs or any other object from a downed line.
- If you see a downed line, call Starkville Utilities at 662-323-3133 or the police or fire department to have the downed line barricaded until it can be repaired. Warn others to stay away. If you are in danger, call 911.
- Always look for nearby power lines before cutting trees or trimming branches. If a tree falls into a power line, contact Starkville Utilities.
- Treat all power lines as energized. Never climb or attempt to handle a tree that has a limb caught in a power line. You may not see any visible evidence that the tree is electrified or dangerous.
- Maintain required clearances between equipment and power lines.
- If a fire starts from a fallen power line, notify the fire department and Starkville Utilities. Stay away from the site of the electrical hazard. Make sure others stay clear of the line and treat it as energized.
- Do not use water on or near a fallen power line.
- Never climb power poles or transmission towers. A typical overhead distribution line has 7,200 volts per wire. Voltages on major transmission lines are as high as 500,000 volts. Both can deliver a deadly shock.
- Never climb trees near power lines. The human body is an excellent conductor of electricity, and you could become its path from the lines to the ground.
- Never drive over a downed line or under a low-hanging line.
- Beware of downed lines touching a vehicle. Stay away from the vehicle and the line.
- If a power line hits your car while you're inside, stay put and wait for help. If the car catches fire, then jump clear without touching metal and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away while keeping both feet on the ground.
- Keep ladders, antennas, kites and poles away from power lines.
- Remember: Weatherproofing on overhead wiring is not insulation. If you are holding any of these items and they come into contact with a power line, you could receive an electrical shock. If you notice anything such as trees or branches that might interfere with power lines or pose a serious threat, notify Starkville Utilities.
- If you are planning to plant trees on your property, 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.
- Shrubs, hedges and other plants should be clear of electric towers and poles.
Electrical Safety Tips for Your Home
Many electrical fires can be prevented by following some simple electricity safety tips. Below are 10 household electrical safety 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.
- Check that you are using the correct wattage in all 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.
- Unplug all unused appliances to reduce potential risks.
- 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.
Electrical Safety Tips for Kids
To play it safe around your home, remember the rules for using electricity the right way.
- Don’t plug a bunch of stuff into one outlet or extension cord. It could damage the electrical system in your house or even cause a fire.
- Do make sure all electric cords are tucked out of the way. Pets might chew on electrical cords, and people might trip and fall.
- Don’t ever play near or on a green transformer box or climb the fence around an electrical substation. If a ball or pet gets inside the fence, ask an adult to call Starkville Utilities - we’ll come and get it out for you.
- Don’t yank an electrical cord from the wall. Instead, pull from the plug. Pulling on a cord can damage the appliance, the plug or the outlet.
- Don’t fly anything like drones or kites near power lines or substations. A kite and its string may conduct electricity - sending it right through you to the ground.
- Do ask an adult for help when you need to use something that uses electricity.
- Do look up and look out for power lines before you climb a tree. The electricity can go right through the tree branch - and right through you.
- Do have an adult put safety caps on all unused electrical outlets. Covering outlets will also help save energy by stopping cold drafts.
- Do watch out for power lines when using a ladder, chainsaw or other outdoor equipment.
- Do keep electrical stuff away from water. Most electrical accidents around the house happen when people use electricity near water.
Electrical Safety Tips for the Holidays
The holidays wouldn’t be the same without twinkling lights and Christmas trees, but these favorite traditions can also create hazards. Starkville Utilities recommends these simple steps to keep your home and family safe and your celebrations more joyful.
- Invest in an artificial tree made with fire-resistant materials, which are safer to light and decorate. If real trees are preferred, make sure they are fresh when purchased and kept well-watered. Once a tree dries out, it is no longer safe to keep indoors and should be removed immediately.
- Buy only UL-listed products when shopping for lights, electric decorations and extension cords. If decorating outdoors, use lights and decorations that are rated for outdoor use.
- Inspect lights and decorations for signs of damage to wire insulation, plugs and bulbs. If cords and plugs are damaged, discard and replace the decoration. Also get rid of old lights. Modern lights have fused plugs to prevent sparks in the event of a short circuit.
- Consider using safer LED lights instead of incandescent lights. LED lights produce very little heat, last up to 25 times longer and use 75 percent less electricity.
- Avoid using electric lights on metallic trees. The tree could easily become charged with electricity and deliver a shock if touched.
- Do not allow light bulbs to rest on tree needles and branches. Use a clip or twist-tie to keep bulbs upright.
- Do not overload extension cords and wall outlets. Know the wattage rating of extension cords and the power requirements of lights and decorations plugged into them. Use only three light strands per outlet and consider using a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker instead for added protection.
- Never place cords under rugs and doors or through windows where they might be pinched or become worn.
- When hanging lights outdoors, reduce your risk of electric shock by using ladders made of non-conductive materials like wood or fiberglass-reinforced plastic.
- Candles are not safe, especially if you have children or pets who are prone to accidentally knocking things over. Place lit candles well out of the way of flammable materials like curtains or wrapping paper. Considering using flameless candles instead.
- Never leave lights on unattended. Always turn off all lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house. Every so often, check Christmas light wires to make sure they are not warm to the touch.
If you are outside during a storm:
- Stay away from downed power lines. Never touch them. If you see a downed line or other damaged equipment, call 911 right away.
- If a power line comes into contact with your vehicle, stay inside the vehicle until help arrives. Do not attempt to get out. By stepping out of the vehicle, your body can become the pathway for electricity to reach the ground, causing severe bodily harm or electrocution. Use a cellular phone, if available, to notify emergency services of your exact location.
- Never try to remove tree limbs or other debris that may have made contact with downed power lines or other electrical equipment.
If you are at home during a storm, stay at home.
- Use a cell phone. Never use a hardwire phone if you see lightning or hear thunder in your area, as phone lines can be a conduit for nearby lightning strikes.
- Turn off electronic appliances that were on when the service interruption began. Leave one light on to indicate when power is restored.
- Don't play video games connected to your TV. Lightning can travel through wires from game consoles to handset controllers.
- Never touch wiring during a thunderstorm. It is too late to unplug electronics if the storm is nearby.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened.
- For longer power outages, consider packing cold and frozen foods into coolers or pack ice into your refrigerator. As a general rule, perishable foods with temperatures above 40 degrees for more than two hours should be thrown away.