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May is National Electrical Safety Month

Waupun Utilities is joining more than 2,000 other community-owned utilities nationwide and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to observe National Electrical Safety Month in May.

According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, electrical-related fires and accidental electrocutions in the home claim the lives of nearly three people nationwide each day. Another 7,000 individuals are injured annually in electrical accidents causing millions of dollars in property damage.

“Education and awareness are key elements to electrical safety,” said Electric Supervisor Randy Posthuma. “Being aware of the potential electrical hazards at home, work, school and play can dramatically reduce your chances of becoming a statistic.”

Waupun Utilities and ESFI offer the following safety tips:

  • Have a qualified, licensed electrician inspect your outlets and electrical system.
  • Put safety covers on all unused outlets to protect children.
  • If an outlet or switch wall plate is hot or discolored by heat, shut off the circuit and have it professionally checked.
  • Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis.
  • Do not place power cords and extension cords in high-traffic areas or under carpets, rugs or furniture, and never nail or staple them to the wall.
  • Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-prong outlet.
  • Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use — indoor or outdoor — and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance or tool being used.
“While National Electrical Safety Month provides the perfect opportunity to give your home or office a checkup,” Posthuma said, “we hope our customers are on the lookout for unsafe electrical conditions throughout the year.”

Visit the ESFI web site (www.electrical-safety.org) for more electrical safety tips.

Strong storms and high winds this time of year can lead to downed power lines. Posthuma encourages customers to stay clear of all power lines.

“It’s best to assume that all downed lines are energized,” Posthuma said. “Stay far away from them and anything touching the line such as a tree, fence or car. Give us a call and our crews will respond immediately.”