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WINTER - 4 SEASONS OF SAFETY
- As we snuggle into our homes during the winter season, your local electric cooperative shares some safety tips.
- Use your space heater safely
- Many people turn to space heaters as a convenient source of warmth in winter months. However, space heaters can be dangerous if not used properly.
- Keep the heater at least three feet from flammable items such as curtains, furniture or bedspreads.
- Select a space heater with a guard around the heating element.
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions.
- Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Always unplug the heater when it is not in use. Never go to sleep with a space heater still operating.
- Do not use an extension cord or power strip with a space heater.
Use portable generators safely
During an unexpected power outage, a portable generator can keep us comfortable until power is restored. But if not operated properly, a generator can quickly become dangerous.
What’s the first rule? Never, ever use a generator indoors – even with windows open – or in an enclosed area, including an attached garage. Locate the generator where fumes cannot filter into your home through windows or doors – even 15 feet is too close.
To avoid risk of shock, use your generator only on a dry surface where rain or snow can’t leak or puddle underneath.
For stationary generators that are permanently installed, a licensed electrician will need to install a “transfer switch” that complies with the National Electric Code. The switch safely cuts the electricity to the power lines.
Shut down the generator and let it cool down before you refuel – gasoline or kerosene spilled on a hot generator could start a fire.
Other safety precautions
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
- Replace any electrical tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats or gives off smoke or sparks.
- Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Use safety closures to child-proof electrical outlets.
- Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
- Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
- Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.
DON'T FALL FOR SCAMMERS PRETENDING TO BE NORTHERN PLAINS!
If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Northern Plains Electric Cooperative demanding immediate payment or you will be disconnected and asking for your banking or credit card information, hang up. They may call back again, but DO NOT BE FOOLED! Northern Plains will never ask for your private financial information over the phone.