Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority
The Grand River Dam Authority is proud to join the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) in promoting National Electrical Safety Month. For many Oklahomans May is also a month that can be marked by severe weather.
By following key safety precautions when dealing with electricity during and after storms, and other disasters, you can help prevent death, injuries and property damage.
Here are some tips from ESFI to keep in mind during wet, stormy weather:
- Take care when stepping into a flooded area, and be aware that submerged outlets or electrical cords may energize the water, posing a potential lethal trap.
Wet Electrical Equipment
- Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. Water can damage the motors in electrical appliances such as furnaces, freezers, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers.
- Take special care with portable electric generators which can provide a good source of power, but if improperly installed or operated can become deadly. Do not connect generators directly to household wiring.
- Power from generators can back feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs.
Make sure your generator is properly grounded.
- Keep generator dry
- Plug appliance directly into the generator
- Make sure extension cords used with generators are rated for the load, and are free of cuts, worn insulation, and have three pronged plugs.
- Do not overload the generator
- Do not operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly, which can be deadly.Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GCFI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Portable GFCI’ require no tools to install and are available at prices ranging from $12 to $30
Downed Power Lines
- These can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death.
- If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and anything touching it. The human body is a ready conductor of electricity.
- The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage zone- and it could do that through your body.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with a downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
- Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and then electrocute you.
- Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
- If you are in your car and it is in contact with the downed power line, stay in your car. Tell others to stay away from you vehicle.
- Do not drive over downed power lines.
Visit www.electrical-safety.org for additional safety tips and news.
Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Directly or indirectly, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable; electricity serves nearly 500,000 homes in Oklahoma and stretches into 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.
– Shannon Cook
GRDA Corporate Communications Specialist