Celebrating National Electric Safety, Month Part 4

Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) the most recent statistical data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicates an estimated annual average of almost 51,000 home fires involving electrical failure or malfunction. These fires claimed over 400 lives, injured more than 1,400 people and resulted in $1.3 billion in property damage.

Promoting electric safety is a year-round effort for the Grand River Dam Authority. In the classroom, at its facilities, and at events like this "Public Power Day" held in Claremore, GRDA crews can set up demonstrations and displays that help to reinforce the importance of electric safety and education.

Electrical fires are not the only cause for concern. Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show that nearly 400 people are electrocuted in the United States each year. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that workplace electrical hazards cause more than 2,600 people each year to be injured so severely that they require time off from work. Electrical incidents and fires disrupt lives and result in the loss of billions of dollars in productivity and assets each year.

As the wholesale electric supplier for many Oklahomans, the Grand River Dam Authority wants to see these numbers drop. That is why GRDA has been proud to join ESFI in promoting National Electric Safety Month during May. It has been an opportunity to increase public awareness of the electrical hazards around us because, fortunately, most electrical fires and incidents can be prevented.

Following basic electrical safety precautions can help prevent injury or death to thousands of people each year.

  • Check outlets regularly for problems, including overheating, loose connections, reversed polarity and corrosion. Consider having an electrical inspection performed by a qualified, licensed electrician to help determine the integrity of your outlets and your entire electrical system.
  • Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs, which can lead to arcing and fire.
  • Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances. Never plug more than one high-wattage appliance in at a time.
  • Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
  • Check for any hot or discolored outlet wall plates. Look from across the room; sometimes you will see a darkened area in a tear-drop shape around and above the outlet which may indicate dangerous heat buildup at the connections.
  • Warm to the touch is okay, hot is not. If an outlet or switch wall plate is hot to the touch, immediately shut off the circuit and have it professionally checked.
  • Finally, replace any missing or broken wall plates.

For more information visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International at www.esfi.org

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

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