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Spring safety tips

May 18, 2007

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN: When they play outside, make sure children know they should never fly a kite in the rain or near power lines, use metal on a kite or climb a utility pole.

STORM ALERT: Remember that during spring storm season, wind, rain and lightning can bring down trees and power lines. If you see a fallen power line, don't touch it, call you local electric cooperative.

OUTAGE STEPS: If you lose power to your home during a spring storm, check your fuses or circuit breakers first, and then call your local electric cooperative, if necessary. Use caution stepping outside your home during a power outage. A fallen power line may be just outside your door or may be hidden by brush or debris. Use extra caution picking up metal debris.

DIAL BEFORE YOU DIG: Spring is a time for gardening, landscaping and other construction projects and no one can ever be certain where or if underground electrical, natural gas, water and cable lines are located on your property. Build time into your plans and call at least 48 hours before you dig.

AVOID WATER: Never use electric mowers or power tools in rainy or wet weather or use an electric mower on wet grass. Keep outdoor outlets and electrical products covered and dry between uses, and store power tools away from water. Make sure electrical appliances do not come into contact with water - such as falling into a bathtub, sink, pool or pet dish. If an appliance does fall into water, unplug it before reaching to retrieve it.

INSTALL GFCIs: Any outlet, appliance or electrical circuit that can contact water should have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which will stop the flow of electricity if a short circuit occurs. GFCIs are inexpensive and are available in several forms, including portable plug-ins that can be attached to any appliance.

WORK OUT FROM OUTLET: When using electrical mowers, hedge trimmers or other tools, begin work nearest the outlet and work away from it so the cord will always be behind you. Keep the cord out of the tool's path by draping it over your shoulder. Make sure the extension cord is approved for outdoor use.

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