Electrical Safety (Hyperlinks)

 

DOCK SAFETY

Regardless of if you receive electricity from Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, Ameren Missouri handles all permitting issues for docks at the Lake of the Ozarks. For more information on permits and inspections, click here.

APPLIANCE SAFETY

  • Make sure plugs fit securely into outlets. Don’t force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.
  • Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-hole outlet.
  • Avoid overloading circuits. Too many appliances, or appliances that use more power than a circuit can handle, can cause a fire.
  • Unplug appliances before cleaning. Even if appliances are off, they can still produce a shock when plugged in.
  • Never submerge an electrical appliance, even if it is unplugged – residual water can cause a shock hazard.
  • Check appliances frequently for frayed or damaged cords.
  • Never put metal objects in live parts of appliances or outlets.
  • Appliances should bear the approval seal of a recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Always pull on the plug, not the cord
  • Don’t carry an appliance by its cord
  • Keep cords out from under rugs or furniture

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ELECTRICAL FIRE SAFETY

Be prepared to act fast. Visualize your plan of response in a fire, so you can move quickly if one happens. Take into account the nearest multipurpose fire extinguisher and how to use it, the nearest emergency exit or fire escape, and your company’s escape plan. Also note company procedures for notifying fire fighters and other emergency personnel.

Call for help first. Even if a fire seems small and nonthreatening, call for help before you try to extinguish it yourself. When in doubt, get out and take others with you.
If electrical equipment is involved, unplug it if you can do so safely, or turn off power at the main switch.

Don’t throw water on an electrical fire. Because water conducts electricity, throwing water on an electrical fire can cause the fire to get larger. It can also cause a shock hazard, as the electricity can travel up the stream of water to you. Use a multipurpose fire extinguisher instead.

If someone is burned, call 911. If you are sure the victim is safely away from the fire and/or no longer in contact with electricity, give first aid as follows:

  • Cool minor burns with cold, running water.
  • Don’t touch the burn, break blisters, or remove burned clothing.
  • Cover minor burns with a sterile bandage.
  • If burns are severe, wrap the victim in a clean sheet and cover with a blanket until medical help arrives.
  • Always seek medical help for burns. With electrical burns, damage may not be immediately apparent.

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EXTENSION CORD SAFETY

  • Don’t use extension cords as permanent wiring.
  • If a cord or plug is warm or hot to the touch, unplug it immediately.
  • Check extension cords and appliances for signs of wear. Replace – don’t attempt to fix – cords that have been cut or damaged.
  • Keep cords away from moisture, heat, and metal pipes.
  • Never place electrical cords across traffic areas or under carpets.
  • Polarized plugs have one blade wider than the other and should only be used with polarized extension cords.
  • Use heavy-duty three-prong extension cord for tools with three-prong plugs. Never remove or bend back the third prong.
  • Use only extension cords that are approved by a recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Unplug and put away extension cords that are not being used.
  • Check the cord’s electrical capacity and do not overload it.
  • Never puncture insulation of electrical cords by nailing them to any surfaces.
  • Make sure your tools are turned off before connecting them to an extension cord.
  • When disconnecting the cord, pull the plug rather than the cord itself.
  • When outdoors, use extension cords designed for outdoor use.
  • Don’t pinch electrical cords behind or under furniture.

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NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRICAL SAFETY

When thinking about your home or neighborhood, chances are you will not be thinking about the power lines. It is easy to overlook their presence, as power lines reside high above your roof, can run alongside property lines or near trees. Nevertheless, power lines can pose serious electrical hazards if completely forgotten.

Trees can be a power lines worst enemy. Strong winds and storms can blow trees over or break branches pulling power lines down from poles or supporting towers. It is possible for the line to remain energized and potentially electrify the tree and nearby objects.

Arcing or flashovers between power lines and trees can also cause potential damage or danger. Additional weight from snow and ice can bend or break tree branches bringing them close enough to power lines to cause an arc or flashover.

A voltage surge on a power line from a nearby lightening strike can cause a tree to become “electrified” as well.

During warm weather or when power lines are carrying heavy electrical loads, they can heat up and stretch, making the lines longer. Thus, power lines can sag as much as 15 or 20 feet bringing them even closer to trees. The electric current caused by arcing or flashovers between power lines and trees can easily injure or even kill an individual caught nearby.

It is important to pay attention to power lines in your neighborhood. Below are some tips to consider for power line safety in your neighborhood:

  •  Make sure to always look for nearby power lines before you begin to cut down any tree or trim branches. If a tree falls into a power line, contact your local electric co-op.
  • Treat all power lines as energized. Never climb or attempt to handle a tree that has a limb caught in a power line. You may not see any visible evidence that the tree is “electrified” or dangerous.
  • Make sure to maintain required clearances between equipment and power lines.
  • If a fire starts from a fallen power line, notify the fire department and your local electric co-op. Stay away from the site of the electrical hazard. Make sure others stay clear of the line and treat it as energized.
  • Do not use water on or near the fallen power line.

In addition to taking the necessary steps to respond to an electrical emergency, you can help stop potential power line problems before they start by practicing these safety measures:

  • If you notice anything such as trees or branches that might interfere with power lines or pose a serious threat, inform your local electric co-op.
  • If you are planning to plant trees on your property, make sure not to plant them directly under or near power lines.
  • Shrubs, hedges and other plants should be kept clear of electric towers and poles.

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SUBSTATION SAFETY

Substations are places where electricity is stepped down from the high voltages used to move it over long distances to the lower voltages that distribute electricity to homes and businesses. They are both critical parts of your electric cooperative system and dangerous places to be.

Every Co-Mo Electric Cooperative substation has a tall fence around the station perimeter. The fences are designed to keep you out — and safe. Signs on the fences warn people to stay out and to stay clear of these areas. But do your children know they should stay clear of substations? Co-Mo Electric Cooperative is asking all parents to speak to

Should a child lose a baseball, kite or model airplane inside a substation, the child may be tempted to go get it themselves. Please warn your children never to go inside a substation. Encourage them to play far away from these structures.

There are many parts of a substation that can cause serious injury. Rural electric linemen are trained to work inside substations. Even so, they still must take careful precautions before even entering this restricted area. They always wear hardhats inside the substation. And they never enter alone.

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative’s highly skilled and trained employees are the only people authorized to enter one of our substations. Give us a call at (800) 781-0157 and we will have one of our lineman return your child’s misplaced belongings.

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THE TEN-FOOT RULE

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative asks you to remember Missouri’s “10-foot rule”. The “10-foot rule” requires you to notify your electric service provider before working within 10 feet in any direction from any power line, overhead or underground.

Please call (800) 781-0157 and speak to one of our Customer Service Representatives before you begin working. One call could save your life! Although underground lines are insulated, a shovel or other tool can damage them and cause electrocution.

Missouri’s Underground Facility Safety and Damage Act (RSMO 319) makes all excavators responsible to (1) learn the location of all buried utility lines in the work area, (2) avoid damage to these facilities, and (3) notify the proper authorities if  you contact or damage buried utility lines.

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