GEC SAFETY 101
Residential Safety Checklist
Take an electrical safety tour of your home using this checklist:
√ Outlets: Check for loose-fitting plugs which can overheat; replace missing or broken wall plates; make sure that there are safety covers on unused outlets within a child’s reach.
√ Cords: Make sure that no cords are cracked or frayed; keep out of traffic areas; do not nail or staple to walls, baseboards, or any other object; do not place under carpets or rest furniture on them.
√ Extension Cords: Check to see that cords are not overloaded; use on temporary basis only; make sure extension cords have safety closures to prevent young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.
√ Plugs: Plugs must fit outlets; never remove the third prong; never force plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit; plugs should fit securely into outlets.
√ Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs): GFCIs can help prevent electrocution. When a GFCI senses current leakage in an electrical circuit, it assumes a ground fault has occurred and interrupts power fast enough to help prevent serious injury from shock. Test GFCIs monthly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
√ Light Bulbs: Check wattage of all bulbs to make certain that they are correct for the size of the fixture; replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended; make sure bulbs are screwed in securely-loose bulbs can overheat.
√ Circuit Breaker/Fuses: Fuses should be the correct size and current rating for their circuit; if you do not know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the size to be used; always replace a fuse with the same correct size fuse.
√ Water & Electricity: DON”T MIX! Don’t leave plugged-in appliances where they might come into contact with water; if plugged-in appliance falls in water, never reach to pull it out, even if it’s turned off-unplug it first. If an appliance has gotten wet, don’t use it until it has been checked by a qualified repairperson.
√ Appliances: If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker, or has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.
√ Entertainment/Computer Equipment: Check to see that the equipment is in good condition and working properly; look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs and connectors; use surge protector bearing the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency.
All About Hurricanes
There’s no stopping hurricane season, but Glades Electric Cooperative will be prepared for whatever the season has in store. The opening day of the season is June 1st and will continue until the end of November. After life-altering storm seasons in 2004 and 2005, GEC learned the importance of organization, motivation, and preparation in our efforts to restore our members’ power as quickly and safely as possible. Last year, GEC employees and members alike were fortunate to have a quiet storm season, free from hurricanes! Rest assured that each season we are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst! We are looking out for our members and working hard to be ready should disaster strike. Emergency kits are very important in times of disaster. Here is a list of six basic areas that you should prepare.
Family Disaster Supply Kit
1. Water: Store one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation and sanitation). Keep at least a three-day supply of water for each person in you household. Water should be stored in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid storing water in containers that will break or decompose.
2. Food: Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking and little or no water. Such items include ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, canned juices and soups, sugar, salt, pepper, peanut butter, crackers, granola bars, cookies, and cereals. Remember items for infants, elderly persons, and persons on special diets.
3. First Aid Kit: Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each vehicle. Include items such as bandages, scissors, tweezers, needle, moistened towelettes, antiseptic, safety pins, soap, latex gloves, sunscreen, non-prescription drugs, aspirin, antacid, and laxative.
4. Tools & Supplies: These include paper cups, utensils, plates, battery operated radio, flashlight, extra batteries, signal flare, compass, shut-off wrench to turn off household gas and water, non-electric can opener, utility knife, toilet paper, soap, feminine products, garbage bags, disinfectant, plastic bucket with tight lid.
5: Clothing & Bedding: Include at least one change of clothes and footwear per person. Items include sturdy shoes, rain gear, blankets, sleeping bags, hats, gloves, thermal underwear, and sunglasses.
6. Special Items: Remember family members with special needs. For babies, items include formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk, and medications. For adults, items may include heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin, prescription drugs, denture products, contact lenses and supplies, and eyeglasses. Other items include games, books, and important family documents to be stored in a waterproof container, such as will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, passports, stocks & bonds, immunization records, social security cards, bank account information, important telephone numbers, and family records (birth, death, marriage certificates).
Backup generators can provide an emergency power supply, enabling you to keep important equipment running during a power outage. But for your safety, and the safety of our employees, please be sure to properly and safely use your generator:
Follow all of the precautions and instructions in the manufacturer’s documentation. Please obey all local building codes, especially regarding placement of the unit and safe electrical connections. Not following these precautions may result in hazardous conditions, including the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning or electrocution. Never connect a generator directly to your home’s electrical system without a proper isolation device (a switch that disconnects your house from our power lines while your generator is operating, and vice versa. This applies to both portable and stationary units). Unless our lines are positively isolated from your home, operating a generator connected into your home’s wiring system could start a fire, damage sensitive electronic equipment and/or (and most importantly) electrocute a service crew member working to restore your power. Only a qualified electrician should install your isolation device. Take care when fueling your generator. Never try to refuel the unit while it’s operating. Avoid spilling gasoline or other fuels on hot components. The safest way to use a portable generator is to plug lights and appliances directly into the outlets on the generator unit. If extension cords are necessary, be sure to use heavyduty cords in good condition with rated capacity sufficient for the load.
Generlink is a new device that makes connecting a portable generator safe and easy! This product eliminates the use of extension cords and other connections that can be hazardous to our members and employees. GenerLink detects when a generator is operating and automatically disconnects from the utility grid, getting rid of dangerous backfeed. It comes with a unique interlocking power cord system that provides a quick and easy connection of a portable generator. It’s installed in minutes, requires no rewiring, and can run virtually an appliance, up to your generator’s capacity.
Call your local GEC office today to get your Generlink.
The Truth About Lightning
Florida is #2 in the United States when it comes to lightning strikes per year. That means, members of Glades Electric need to be more alert, and informed about this act of nature. Because there are no official warnings or watches, it is the individual’s responsibility to know all the dangers and precautionary measures to be taken. Study these myths and facts, and begin to know the truth about lightning:
Myth: Lightning always strikes the tallest object.
Fact: Lightning strikes the best conductor on the ground, not necessarily the tallestobject. In some cases, the best conductor might be a human being.
Myth: A car’s rubber tires give protection from lightning.
Fact: The car itself is very well insulated and offers more protection than being outside.Of course, the exception is the convertible, which offers virtually no protection.
Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: False…an example would be the Empire State Building, which is struck by lightning many times every year.
Myth: Lightning cannot strike from very far away.
Fact: Lightning can actually knock you off your feet and cause severe injury from as faras half a mile away. Another important fact to remember is that lightning always accompanies thunderstorms, so always keep your eye to the sky. If you’re inside when a storm is approaching, be sure to unplug all appliances prior to the storm hitting. Lightning causes power surges and can damage your appliances. Call your local GEC office to learn how you can protect your belonging with surge protection devices. Phone use should be avoided during thunderstorms because telephone lines can conduct electricity. Another conductor of electricity is metal. Because metal pipes run to our sinks and bathtubs, these areas should also be avoided during thunderstorms. If you are outside when a storm arrives, immediately take cover. If there is not shelter around, find a low-lying, open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles, or metal objects. Squat low to the ground, in a tucked position, and try to touch as little of your body to the ground as possible. If you feel your hair stand up on end during a storm, then electric charges are already rushing up your body from the ground toward an electrically charged cloud. Remain in the tucked position and minimize your contact with the ground to minimize injury.
Electricity Takes the Easiest Path to the Ground!
If you touch electricity (or something touching the electricity) and the ground at the same time, you become a path. Electricity will flow through you. You could be seriously or fatally injured, so be aware, and follow your safety checklist.
If someone has been shocked or burned by electricity
1. Tell an adult to pull the plug from the outlet or turn off the power at the fuse box or circuit breaker.
2. Call for help (usually 911). Tell them it is an electrical accident.
3. When the victim is not in contact with the source of electricity, and you’re sure that there is no danger, tell an adult to give first aid:
~If the victim is not breathing, give CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
~Loosen the victim’s clothing. Keep the victim warm and lying down until help arrives
~Don’t touch burns, break blisters, or remove burned clothing.
You cannot tell if there are electrical burns inside the body, so be sure the person is taken to a doctor.