At Nodak Electric, safety is the most important job we have. We have the awesome responsibility to do our best to keep each other safe at work and to educate our members on how to stay safe around electricity at home and work. As the holidays draw near, for many of us that means celebrations with friends and family, travel, decorations, cooking and shopping. All of us at Nodak Electric want you to be safe during the holidays, so here are a few tips to consider as you gear up for the season. We can’t guarantee that the hustle and bustle of the season won’t leave you with a few frayed nerves, but hopefully these reminders will help you avoid frayed wires.
Inspect your seasonal items
Many of us have treasured holiday mementos that we bring out of storage year after year. The holidays are also a time when we dust off specialized cooking gadgets that allow us to prepare our favorite seasonal treats. These items are often handed down through generations and might lack modern safety features.
Take a few moments to carefully inspect all your holiday items to ensure everything is in safe working order. A few things to look out for include:
• Brittle insulation on wires
• Rodent damage to wires
• Worn switches with the potential to short circuit
• Corroded metal parts
• Broken legs, unstable bases and other tip-over hazards
Extension cords are temporary
When you asked your school teacher for an extension on your homework, it was a one-time thing, right? The same holds true for extension cords. They are designed for temporary use and should never be used as a permanent or long-term solution.
Never bypass safety devices
There are reasons why some devices have fuses, some plugs have three prongs instead of two and one prong is wider than the other on two-prong outlets. When those safety features get in the way of your holiday decor plans, you might be tempted to tamper with those features. Don’t do it! If your plugs won’t fit together, that means they’re not designed to work together. Rather than tampering with a safety feature, find a safe solution.
Don’t forget to look up
When working outside with a ladder, be mindful of the location of overhead power lines. Always carry your ladder so that it is parallel to the ground. Before placing your ladder in an upright position, look around to ensure you are a safe distance from any power lines.
Stay away from your service connection
An overhead wire that brings power from a pole to your house can be dangerous if not respected. You should treat this line the same way you’d treat any other power line on our system. Maintain a safe distance – even if that means a small gap in the perfect outline of lights. If you must perform work close to your service entrance, get the professionals involved so it can be done safely.
Read the fine print
If you take a few minutes to read and understand the limitations of your lights and other electrified holiday decorations, you can save yourself a great deal of work and frustration in the long run. For example, the tag at the end of an extension cord will tell you if it’s rated for outdoor use, whether it will remain flexible in cold temperatures and how much energy it can safely handle. Similarly, holiday lights will tell you how many strings can be safely linked together.
Don’t forget about the kids…and pets
If you have small children, you’ve probably spent a great deal of time making sure every square inch of your home is childproof – every cabinet is locked and every outlet is covered. But sometimes the joy of celebrating the holidays with our little ones makes us a little less vigilant about electrical safety. Make sure your holiday decor receives the same level of safety scrutiny you apply to all of the permanent items in your home. Curious and mischievous pets can present similar challenges. Make sure Fluffy isn’t nibbling on all those extra wires or using your tree as her personal back scratcher or jungle gym.
From all of us at Nodak, we want to wish you a happy, but more importantly a safe holiday season.