Click on each tile to find out more to keep you safe whenever energy is involved!
Anyone digging or excavating should be aware that power lines and other utilities may be buried nearby. The Missouri One Call (MOCS) was established as a means to protect these underground facilities and to assist excavators and utilities in complying with Missouri’s statute and OSHA Rules 1926.651.
By calling 1-800-DIG-RITE before you dig, your safety and the environment are protected. Click here to visit the Missouri One Call website.
White River Valley Electric Cooperative (WRVEC) encourages you to follow these basic safety tips at all times to ensure that you are handling your appliances safely:
- When unplugging appliances, be sure to always pull on the plug itself, not the cord.
- Frequently check that all plugs and cords are free from damage, and that none of the internal wires are exposed. If the plugs or cords are damaged or frayed in anyway, they are not safe to use, and must be replaced or repaired immediately.
- Be sure that plugs fit securely into outlets. Do not force a plug if it doesn’t fit, this could create an electrical hazard. Instead, look for an outlet that the plug does fit securely into. Use an extension cord if necessary. If you are using an extension cord, be sure to review our extension cord safety section.
- If you are using a plug with three prongs, never remove the third prong, the ground prong, in order to make it fit a two prong outlet. This could create an electrical hazard.
- Be sure to never plug more appliances into a circuit than the circuit can handle. Overloading a circuit in this way, or plugging in appliances that pull more electricity than the circuit can handle, could start a whole house fire.
- Be sure to always unplug appliances when cleaning. Even if an appliance is turned off, it could still cause an electric shock. It is best to always unplug appliances.
- Never submerge an electrical appliance in water, whether unplugged or not. Water could remain in the circuitry of the appliance, and this could cause an electrical shock at a later date.
- Never put any metal object into a live or exposed circuit. Metal is a conductor. Any person touching the object would get an electric shock and could be severely hurt.
- Be sure to check that all appliances bear the seal of a recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Never carry an appliance by its cord. This could cause damage that may go unnoticed. Later on, the damaged cord could shock someone.
- Be sure no electrical cords are hidden under rugs or furniture. This is a fire hazard.
Electrical fires are especially dangerous because, while they can be just as destructive as any other fire, they cannot be put out with water due to its conductive nature. It is important to always follow these tips if an electrical fire occurs:
- Throwing water onto an electrical fire will spread the fire, not put it out.
- In the event of an electrical fire, use a multipurpose fire extinguisher instead of water to put the flames out.
- Always be prepared to act fast in case a fire does happen. In order to act quickly, you should be familiar with all of the safety routes out of the building in case one is blocked.
- If you can do so safely, call for help before any other action is taken. If you are in any doubt, then alert others to the danger and get out of the building.
- If you can safely unplug the equipment involved, then do so. Or, if you can safely shut off power at the main switch, do that.
- If someone is burned, it is important to take appropriate action. First, call 911. You should always seek help for electrical burns because the damage may not be immediately apparent. If you are at a safe distance from the fire and the victim, and he or she is no longer in contact with the electricity, you can help the burn victim by following these steps:
- Never touch the burn or break any blisters.
- Never remove burned clothing, this could cause more damage than help.
- If possible, keep minor burns cool by running cold water over them. If cool water is not available, cover minor burns with a sterile bandage.
- If burns are severe, wrap the victim in a clean sheet first, and then cover him/her with a blanket.
Extension cords are commonly found in both offices and homes. While they are useful to ensure electricity is available wherever you need it, extension cords come with their own set of precautions. Keep these tips in mind:
- Extension cords are useful, but they should never be used as permanent wiring. Use an extension cord temporarily, and rewire the room if necessary.
- Be careful when handling extension cords. If the plug or cord is hot to the touch, be sure to unplug it immediately.
- Frequently check extension cords for signs of wear. Always replace cords that show damage, never attempt to repair them.
- Be careful where you place your extension cords. Never string cords under carpets or across high traffic areas, never pinch cords behind or underneath furniture, and be sure cords are kept away from moisture, heat, and metal pipes.
- When not in use, extension cords should always be unplugged and put away in a safe place.
- When using extension cords outdoors, be sure to only use cords rated for outdoor use.
- Be sure to only use polarized plugs with polarized extension cords. One blade on a polarized plug is wider than the other.
- Use heavy duty extension cords with three pronged plugs for tools that have three pronged plugs. Never bend or break the third prong for any reason.
- Be sure to check that all extension cords bear the seal of a recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Know the electrical capacity of your cord and make sure not to overload it. Overloading the cord could cause damage and may pose a potential fire risk.
- Do not nail your extension cords to a surface. Nailing down an extension cord could puncture the rubber insulation and could be a fire hazard. Use appropriate fasteners if necessary.
- Always make sure your tools are switched off before plugging them into the extension cord.
- Always pull the plug, not the cord, when disconnecting the cord.
Generators are useful for people who need constant power regardless of the weather. They can also pose a danger to line people if they are connected wrong. Call WRVEC both before and after installation. We recommend using GenerLink devices to hook up your house to the portable generator. To protect both yourself and linemen, be sure to follow these important generator safety tips:
- Always plug appliances directly into the generator. Be sure to note the wattage capacity of your generator so that you may avoid a dangerous overload of the circuitry. Using too many appliances increases the risk of an electrical fire.
- Make sure the generator is running at full speed before appliances are plugged in. Any appliances that are plugged in before the generator has reached full speed may be damaged.
- Be sure to never wire a generator directly to your home’s electric service panel, or to connect it to a circuit through a receptacle.
- If you have a home emergency generator, it is probably powered by gasoline. Never operate a gasoline powered generator indoors. Operating the generator indoors may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure to store the gasoline safely.
- If you are connecting your generator directly to a building (and therefore not plugging appliances into the generator), be sure to get the proper switches and connections from a certified electrician.
- If your generator requires direct wiring, you will need a double-throw switch or auxiliary generator panel. The switch will allow you to connect to either the main power source or the portable unit, but it will keep both connections from being live at the same time. This will protect line people from unknown live wires and your generator and connected appliances from possible damage.
Overhead power lines are not insulated and can carry more than 500,000 volts of electricity. Any contact with the line could result in serious injury or fatality. Missouri law requires you to notify your electric cooperative if you plan on working within ten feet of the power lines. In accordance with this, all line location practices and personnel are on file with the Recorder of Deeds in each individual county. For a list of utilities with underground facilities in your area, contact your County Recorder’s Office.
WRVEC uses the “Look Up and Live” theme to educate school students about potential safety hazards in their own backyard, or at any of the parks within the community. These programs are designed to teach basic electricity safety. They also teach how electricity is generated and transmitted to homes and schools.
WRVEC believes in providing the very best electric service to each member. These tips can help to ensure that your families and homes stay safe while enjoying the service we provide:
- Before cutting down a tree or branches, check for nearby power lines. If a tree was to fall on a power line, it could pose a serious risk.
- Always treat power lines as if they are energized. If a tree has fallen onto a power line, always treat the tree as if it has been “energized.” Do not touch the tree, or attempt to climb it. Call WRVEC instead.
- Whenever a power line is involved, always act as if it and everything it is touching is energized—that it has an electrical current running through it and therefore can be dangerous. Do not touch either the power line or anything that it may be touching. Call WRVEC immediately.
- Always be sure to maintain the minimum required distance between a power line and all equipment—usually ten feet.
- If a fire starts from a fallen power line, immediately notify the fire department and your electric cooperative. Stay away from the site of the fire.
- Never throw water on a fallen power line.
Lightning storms can pose a serious risk to businesses and homes. A strike can cause outages which increases risk for loss of important data, as well necessitating expensive repairs. To protect your home or business during a lightning storm, follow these safety tips:
- At the first sign of an incoming storm, unplug all appliances, besides those necessary for obtaining weather information.
- Electricity can travel through water pipes and wiring, so be sure to stay away from any appliances that may use either water pipes or electricity such as sinks and corded phones.
- During a lightning storm, avoid using all electronic appliances. If you need to communicate with someone, use a telephone only.
- Be sure to stay away from windows and open doors.
- Make sure all air conditioners are turned off. Lightning can overload an air conditioner’s compressor creating a fire hazard and potentially destroying the air conditioner.
Substations are a necessary and important part of your electric cooperative. But it is incredibly important to stay away from substations; even authorized personnel only enter in groups, and they wear hardhats whenever they are inside the fence. Entering a substation is dangerous at all times and you should make every effort to avoid them.
The 10-foot rule is simple- If you plan on working within 10 feet of a power line in any direction, whether it is an overhead line or an underground line, you must notify White River Valley Electric Cooperative.