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May Is Electrical Safety Month

 May Is Electrical Safety Month

Have you ever walked across carpet and received a shock when you touched a doorknob or another person? What you felt was a buildup of static electricity.

But a real electric shock is a lot more painful and can be deadly. Here’s what can happen:

• Muscles tighten up, making it almost impossible to pull away from the circuit.
• Lungs constrict, making it hard to breathe.
• Heartbeat is interrupted and blood vessels narrow.
• Burns and internal organ damage occur.
• Death may follow.

It sounds scary—and it is—but if you remember some simple safety rules, you can use electricity without getting hurt.

Humans Are Good Conductors

The human body is a good conductor of electricity. That means electricity flows easily through our bodies. Why? Because electricity moves quickly through water—and the human body is 70 percent water.

Another fact to remember is that electricity always tries to find the easiest path to the ground—so don’t get in its way. Maintain safe distances from electric lines at all times. Avoid using ladders, poles or other tools in situations where they may come into contact with overhead lines. Contact your electric cooperative if you need to work near power lines.

Accidents Happen Quickly

You might think that if you get shocked, you can pull away quickly and not get hurt. Electricity travels at nearly the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, so the effects of electricity can be felt immediately. A person has almost no chance of avoiding the shock.

If the electricity is strong enough, muscles tighten so much that a person can’t let go.

Anyone who touches someone who is being shocked can become part of the circuit, too. That's why you should never grab anyone who’s been shocked. If an electrical accident happens, turn off or unplug the circuit if it’s safe to do so; call 911 and tell the operator that someone has been involved in an electrical accident; and keep others away until trained help arrives.

Electricity Safety Rules

  1. Look up and look out for power lines before you raise a ladder, climb onto a roof or climb a tree. Stay at least 35 feet away from overhead power lines.
  2. Don’t ever play or work on or near a green transformer box or climb the fence around an electrical substation.
  3. Keep electrical equipment away from water. Most electrical accidents around the house happen when people use electricity near water.
  4. Don’t plug a bunch of devices into one outlet or extension cord. It could damage the electrical system in your house or even cause a fire.
  5. Make sure all electrical cords are tucked out of the way to avoid a tripping hazard and to keep pets or small children away from them.
  6. 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.
  7. Don’t fly drones or kites near power lines or substations. A kite and its string may conduct electricity—sending it right through you to the ground.
  8. Install tamper-resistant receptacles. Not only will it help keep kids safe, but covering outlets will also help save energy by stopping cold drafts.
  9. Make sure all electric appliances and tools are in good repair.
  10. Don’t use extension cords for long-term electrical needs. They are intended for temporary use only.