Take time to be safe around electricity


 

In the position I am honored to serve, few things weigh on my mind as heavily as safety – safety for our members and for our employees. Electricity is a necessity we’re privileged to provide you…but it can be life changing in more ways than one.

May is National Electrical Safety Month and Middle Tennessee Electric takes seriously its commitment to home, workplace and public safety. The welfare of our members and employees always comes first.

I can’t overemphasize the importance of caution around all power sources, whether home electrical outlets, appliances and wiring; overhead and underground power lines, transformers or substations; workplace electrical equipment; at highway accident scenes; or during natural disasters.

Rather than cite statistics for property losses, injuries and fatalities related to mishaps involving electricity, I want to ask a simple question. How many extension cords do you currently have plugged into outlets at your home? If you don’t want to guess, please count them.

Do you realize more than 13,000 home fires are caused by extension cords each year in the United States? I mention this simply to remind you of the importance of being safe at home even with mundane electrical equipment like extension cords which can be overloaded or wear out over time. Awareness of potential issues is one of the best ways to prevent electrical disasters from occurring.

There are, of course, many other safety considerations around electricity. Power lines are sometimes brought to the ground by high winds, ice, heavy snow or vehicle accidents. MTEMC never neglects the opportunity to warn about the danger of downed lines, but we still

encounter situations where folks approach lines that could be energized. Please remember that you should never approach downed lines…always think, “downed and dangerous.”

We strive to educate our members about do-it-yourself project safety around electricity. Certified electricians are trained in home wiring and electrical codes. We urge our members to seek professional assistance whenever they need repairs or new wiring installation, especially involving portable generators.

Even when performing simple outdoor tasks, MTEMC members should be aware of electric lines, pad-mounted transformers and possible underground lines. Truck drivers, heavy equipment operators and farmers are encouraged to look up and locate where power lines cross areas of activity. Always call before you dig to avoid contact with buried utility lines. Tennessee’s one-call phone number is 811.

Over the years, we’ve conducted electrical safety demonstrations for thousands of school children. Guess what? They remember the lessons, and many take the advice home to their parents.

I encourage you to turn to MTEMC’s section in the May issue of Tennessee Magazine to learn more. If you have a question about electrical safety at any time, call us.

 

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