At Wheatland Electric, we recognize Electrical Safety Month every May, but we also know the importance of practicing safety year-round. From our co-op crews to you, the members we serve, we recognize that everyone has a part to play in prioritizing safety.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, thousands of people in the U.S. are critically injured or electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and accidents in their own homes. Many of these accidents are preventable. Electricity is a necessity, and it powers our daily lives. But we know first-hand how dangerous electricity can be because we work with it 365 days a year.
For us, safety is more than a catchphrase. As your electric cooperative, it's our responsibility to keep our co-op employees safe and members of our community safe. That’s why you’ll see our Wheatland Electric safety team and lineworkers hosting safety demonstrations in schools, community events, and with first responders across our service territory and throughout the year, to demonstrate the dangers of electricity.
At these safety demos, we demonstrate firsthand exactly what can happen to the human body or objects that come in contact with energized power lines. We also discuss emergency scenarios, such as what to do in a car accident involving a utility pole and downed power lines. In fact, in 2021 alone, we reached over 1,500 participants with our live, safety demonstrations — from the very young to older generations, too. We caution students on the dangers of playing around pad-mounted transformers and warn the public about overloading circuits with too many electronic devices.
There’s no doubt that electricity is an integral part of modern life. Given the prevalence of electrical devices, tools and appliances, we want to pass along a few practical electrical safety tips. Take a look around at home and at work and make sure these hazards do not pose a threat to your family, friends or coworkers.
- FRAYED WIRES POSE A SERIOUS SAFETY HAZARD. Power cords can become damaged or frayed from age, heavy use or excessive current flow through the wiring. If cords become frayed or cut, replace them, as they could cause a shock when handled.
- AVOID OVERLOADING CIRCUITS. Circuits can only cope with a limited amount of electricity. Overload happens when you draw more electricity than a circuit can safely handle — by having too many devices running on one circuit.
- LABEL CIRCUIT BREAKERS to understand the circuits in your home. Contact a qualified electrician if your home is more than 40 years old and you need to install multiple large appliances that consume large amounts of electricity. We can even put you in touch with a trusted, local electrician if you call your local Wheatland office.
- USE EXTENSION CORDS PROPERLY. Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord. If you “daisy chain” them together, it could lead to overheating, creating a potential fire hazard. Do not exceed the wattage of the cord. Doing so also creates a risk of overloading the cord and creates a fire hazard. Extension cords should not be used as permanent solutions. If you need additional outlets, contact a licensed electrician to help.
We encourage you to talk with your kids about playing it safe and smart around electricity. Help them be aware of overhead power lines near where they play outdoors. And remind them to never, ever approach downed power lines.
Our vision is to provide essential services that are safe, reliable and competitively priced to enhance the lives of our members. It’s a responsibility we take seriously, but equally important is keeping our community safe around electricity.
Follow us on social media for additional electrical safety tips during the month of May! And if you would like us to provide a safety demonstration at your school or community event, contact your local Wheatland office so we can make those arrangements.