Safety at La Plata Electric Association, Inc. (LPEA) is a top priority.
Education, Training and Information. The cooperative principle LPEA abides by to educate our member-owners, directors and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of our cooperative.
LPEA’s Safety Committee increases our employee’s electrical safety awareness through various U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) safety regulations. The Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA) provides additional training programs. Here are several categories of indoor electrical safety tips.
- Appliance Safety
- Electrical Fire Safety
- Electrical Outlet & Wiring Safety
- Extension Cord Safety
- Space Heater Safety
Keep appliances clean and well-maintained. A buildup of dust, trash or spider webs is an invitation for fire to start in the electrical system.
Unplug any appliance before working on it.
Keep electric appliances away from water.
Consider installing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in areas that are exposed to water.
Avoid adding extra plugs in attachments which could overload outlets or extension cords.
Examine electrical cords to make sure they aren’t frayed, damaged or placed under rugs or carpets.
Replace worn or damaged cords.
Do not touch any electrical appliance if you are standing in water.
Unplug irons before leaving them unattended.
Do not place anything on top of an appliance that uses its own cooling system (TV, computer, DVD player, game console). This can cause overheating of the appliance. It could even cause a fire.
Electrical Fire Safety
Never use water on electrical fires, equipment or wires. Because water conducts electricity, dousing water on an electrical fire can cause the fire to intensify.
If an appliance is on fire, unplug it or cut the power at the control panel if possible.
If the fire is small, use baking soda or a multipurpose or dry chemical fire extinguisher.
Always have smoke alarms installed throughout your home. Check and change the batteries regularly.
Have fire extinguishers handy to put out small fires. Keep in an easy to access spot and away from exits.
Prepare and practice a home fire escape plan with your family.
Above all, keep your personal safety in mind during an appliance fire. Call 911 and get out of the building if the fire cannot be quickly extinguished.
Look for the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL®) mark on all electric products you use. This indicates the product has met strict electrical standards.
Electrical Outlet & Wiring Safety
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) should be installed anywhere water is present, including bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms, or where easy ground contact can be made, like in garages, basements, and outdoor areas. If you do not have GFCIs installed in these areas, contact a certified electrician.
Be familiar with fuses and breakers for the circuits in your home. If an electrical device blows a fuse, trips a breaker, releases sparks, sounds or smells like it’s burning, disconnect it immediately. Dispose of the appliance or have it repaired. If you are unsure about any equipment, contact a certified electrician.
Make sure that plugs fit nicely into outlets. Loose-fitting plugs or plugs that do not fit may overheat and cause a fire.
Do not allow any electrical wiring to be exposed - be sure that all switch and outlet covers fit over the wires.
Place safety covers in outlets that are not being used and keep cords tucked away so that children do not play with them.
Do not overload any electrical supply, such as an extension cord, power strip or outlet. When cords overheat, they can deteriorate and cause possible shock or fire.
When not in use, unplug all non-essential electrical appliances. You not only reduce a safety risk, but you will also save energy and money in the long run!
Extension Cord Safety
Extension cords are meant to be temporary. Avoid using extension cords over extended periods of time.
Do not connect several extension cords together. This can lead to overheating and sparking.
Use only three-wire extension cords for appliances with three-prong plugs. Never remove the third (round or U-shaped) prong, which is a safety feature designed to reduce the risk of shock and electrocution.
Do not put extension cords in places where they may get pinched, such as under doors or windows.
When using extension cords across doorways or heavy traffic areas, make sure they are taped to the floor securely so that you do not trip or fall on them.
Do not staple or nail extension cords. You might damage the insulation made to protect you from the current and potentially expose a wire that may cause sparking or shocks.
Know how much your extension cord can handle. If you plug in more than one high-wattage appliance into an extension cord, it may overheat. To find out the wattage on your appliance, read the manual or check the appliance for a label.
Never use an indoor extension cord outdoors - it could result in an electrical shock or hazard.
Use special, heavy-duty extension cords for high-wattage appliances, like air conditioners, portable electric heaters and freezers.
Make sure extension cords are connected to Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets, especially around water.
Never unplug an extension cord by pulling on the cord. Always unplug by firmly grasping the plug.
Space Heater Safety
Use space heaters to provide supplemental heat only.
Select equipment that has the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL®) mark.
Keep anything that may burn at least 3 feet away from space heaters.
Do not use them to thaw pipes or dry clothing.
Be sure to turn off space heaters when leaving a room or going to sleep.
Use space heaters with an automatic shut-off feature and heating element guards.
Watch children and pets always when around a space heater. Even the slightest contact with a heating coil or element will cause a severe burn.
Check your space heater for frayed or broken wiring.
Avoid using extension cords with space heaters. Extension cords can easily overheat when used with a space heater.
Keep your space heater cord away from high-traffic areas in your home. Tripping on or knocking over the heater can cause an injury or even a fire.