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Generator Safety

A generator can be a wonderful tool during an outage, but it also can be extremely dangerous if used improperly. Be aware that PEC requires a generator transfer switch (double-throw) device when you connect a generator to your home�s electrical circuits. Otherwise, if a generator is online when electrical service is restored, it can become a fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home�s electrical circuits may endanger service crews helping restore power in your area.

Contact PEC's Engineering department at 580-332-3031 before installing a generator to ensure correct installation at your meter.

When using your generator, please keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Never connect a generator directly to your home�s wiring unless your home has been wired for generator use. This can cause backfeeding along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including lineworkers making repairs. Have a licensed electrician install the equipment necessary to safely connect emergency generators to your home.
  • Always plug appliances directly into generators. Connecting the generator to your home�s circuits or wiring must be done by a qualified, licensed electrician who will install a transfer switch to prevent backfeeding.
  • Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure extension cords are free of cuts or tears and the plug has three prongs. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage.
  • Ensure your generator is properly grounded.
  • Never overload a generator. A portable generator should only be used when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances. 
  • Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
  • Keep the generator dry. Operate it on a dry surface under an open structure. Do not install your generator in a basement or any closed area. Exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, which is an odorless, invisible and poisonous gas. Provide adequate ventilation and air cooling to prevent the generator from overheating and toxic fumes from accumulating. 
  • Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Never fuel a generator while it is operating.
  • Read and adhere to the manufacturer�s instructions for safe operation. Never cut corners when it comes to safety.

We encourage you to protect the well-being and safety of your family during outages, and safeguard those who come to your aid during emergency situations. When we work together for safety and the good of our communities, we all benefit.

Safety around the house

At People�s Electric Cooperative, nothing is more important to us than your safety and well-being. Please read through the following precautions and follow them to help keep you, your family and your home safe.    

Know the Basics
People are good conductors of electricity, particularly standing in water or on a damp floor. Your body can act like a lightning rod and carry the current to ground. Use outlets with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) in bathrooms, garages, near kitchen sinks and outdoors. These devices prevent serious shock. They can be added as temporary adapters if necessary.

Keep appliances away from bathtubs, puddles, sinks and wet hands. Always unplug an appliance before cleaning. Even if turned off, it can shock. Never overload an outlet with multiple appliances. Use only appliances approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory.

Remember These Tactics for Toddler Safety
Toddlers have a reputation for "getting into everything", so you need to plan ahead to keep them from getting shocked. Electrical safety rules are simple, but important for children. Cover electrical outlets with snug-fitting plastic safety plugs. Spring-loaded outlet covers are also available. They must be turned before a plug can be inserted. Get protective safety covers that allow appliance plugs to pass in and out for frequently used outlets. When possible, place furniture in front of outlets to prevent your child from touching them. Keep small metal objects, such as paper clips, hair pins and safety pins off the floor. Children like to poke things into outlets.

Tape electrical cords and wires to floors/baseboards to prevent fraying or breaking. Don't put them under carpets. Roll up and tie loose appliance cords to keep them off the floor. Keep fans and portable heaters out of the reach of little fingers. Connect power tools to a master switch so you can turn off all tools when you leave the workshop. Most importantly, supervise your children. That's the best safety measure of all!

Home Safety Quick Tips:

  • Electricity and water don�t mix. Never use electrical appliances close to water.
  • Take an electrical tour throughout your home, searching for potential hazards. Many hazards are easily identified and corrected.
  • Never put anything into electrical outlets not intended for them.
  • Make sure electrical outlets aren�t overloaded.
  • Check all electrical and extension cords to make sure they aren�t cracked, frayed, or covered by rugs or furniture.
  • Use the appropriate wattage light bulb for lighting fixtures.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from damp or hot surfaces, and make sure they have appropriate air circulation.
  • Dim or flickering lights, arcs or sparks, sizzling or buzzing sounds from your electrical systems, odors, hot switch plates, loose plugs and damaged insulation, among other things, are signs of potential hazards and should be examined by a qualified electrician.

Outdoors - At Work

Keep Clear of Power Lines
When power lines are nearby, use wooden or fiberglass ladders - not metal. Carry ladders or long-handled tools low enough to avoid coming in contact with overhead lines. Keep in mind, the State Law of Oklahoma prohibits any equipment or tool from coming within six feet of an energized conductor even momentarily. This stresses the extreme hazards of performing jobs around energized power lines.

Check Out Your Equipment
Keep all electrical appliances a safe distance away from water and don't use power tools when standing in wet areas. Power tools should be properly grounded and use only heavy-duty extension cords rated for outdoor use.

Landscape with Care
Call before you dig! PEC can tell you the location of any underground lines. Or, to locate electric, gas and telephone lines with one phone call, Call OKIE. It's a free service by calling 1-800-522-6543.

Don't plant tall-growing trees under power lines. If you have a tree with power lines running above it, don't climb it or build anything in it.

Work Safely with Heavy Equipment
ccidents involving heavy equipment coming into contact with power lines constitute a major portion of the electrically related fatalities each year in this country. By following a few simple procedures, you can work safety around electric wires. The first step in electric safety on a work site is to survey the area carefully. Note where every electric wire is, and be sure your equipment will clear any wires by more than 10 feet. If you're not sure if a particular wire is an electric wire, assume that it is. Maintain a distance of at least 10 feet between electric lines or equipment and your machinery. Mark off a "safe zone" and stay within it.

If your work will require any excavation or drilling, contact People's Electric before you begin work so they can clearly mark any underground lines. A PEC employee will be happy to come to your work site to help you provide a safe work place for your employees.

Cutting Trees Safely
Do you have plans to clear some land for farming or for building a new house or barn. Maybe you're cutting a new right-of-way to service as a road, or perhaps you're just getting rid of some old dead trees. Regardless of the chore at hand, cutting down trees demands attention to safety measures.

A careful surveillance of the vicinity is essential before you begin any tree work. Look overhead and to all sides surrounding your cutting site. Be very sure that your tree will not come into contact with any powerline when it falls. Wood can be a conductor of electricity. Each year several deaths and cases of serious injury are reported which involve trees falling into powerlines.

Above all, if you do cause a tree to fall into a power line or you come across a tree which has fallen into a line, do not under any circumstances attempt to remove the tree. Stay clear of it and the line. Call PEC as soon as possible. We will see to it that the problem is taken care of right away.

Outdoors - At Play

Remind Your Kids About Electric Safety
Kids love to climb trees. Teach them to watch out for trees or shrubs that have power lines passing near them. These lines are generally uninsulated and they can kill. Trees are excellent conductors of electricity, particularly when wet. Teach your children to keep toy airplanes and kites away from trees and power lines. Never try to retrieve a kite or plane by poking a stick into a power line.

Never climb on transformers or up electric poles. Instruct your children to stay away from utility substation fences. If you see a substation fence or transformer cabinet that has been vandalized, call PEC immediately. Teach children to look for DANGER signs displayed on all high voltage equipment. If a child (or an adult) sees a downed or damaged power line, he/she must not go near it! The child should tell an adult who will see that PEC is notified.

Sail With Safety
As a sailing enthusiast, become aware of the potential hazards and begin to exercise some simple measure to avoid danger in the future. Many sail boats have masts of 30 feet and more, and most of those masts are made of highly conductive aluminum. When aluminum masts and electric power come into contact, a lethal hazard is created. When you are stepping your mast, be sure to do so in an area totally clear of power lines. Most marinas provide safe, spacious areas for you to carry out your stepping procedures.

On The Farm

Work Safely with Irrigation Pipe
Irrigation pipe lines play a crucial role on most modern-day farms. Without the ability to carry life-giving water to the far reaches of his land, a farmer stands little chance of raising successful crops. Electric power lines also serve a critical function on today's rural farms. They carry the energy so vital to the everyday operation of the entire farm. Everything from the milking machines to the family's washing machines depend on safe, reliable electric power.

These two valuable farm servants - irrigation pipes and electric power lines - must never come into contact with one another. Aluminum irrigation pipe is an excellent conductor of electric current. If a pipe touches a power line, the person holding the pipe is subject to a fatal injury. When it comes time to clean, assemble or disassemble your irrigation lines, please take special care to survey your working area. Although electric distribution lines are usually strung with excellent overhead clearance, remember that you will be working with unusually long pieces of metal pipe. Look overhead and note electric lines which are within reach of the long pipes. When lifting and transporting the pipe, keep well clear of the power lines.

If possible, store your irrigation pipes in an open area well away from power lines. The tendency is to store pipes along the perimeter of a field. But the perimeter is generally where power lines are strung, so it is not usually a safe storage area for the pipes.

It's so very easy to forget about the presence of power lines. Just one thoughtless moment, however, can result in a tragedy on your farm. Be sure to carefully outline safety procedures to all workers who will be handling your irrigation pipe. Stress the deadly hazard presented by the contact of pipes and electric wires.

Should an accident occur, either with or without injuries, never attempt to remove any pipe sections which are still in contact with the power lines. Contact PEC. Someone trained for this type of emergency will be sent immediately to take care of the problem.

Harvesting With Safety
Modern farming requires the use of large, complex machinery. Each year a tragic number of accidents are caused by careless handling of farm equipment around electric power lines. Remember to use caution at all times. Watch for overhead power lines and utility poles and avoid any contact.

Although you may have no power lines whatsoever in your fields, you certainly have them present in equipment storage areas and grain storage areas. Be sure the paths from equipment storage areas to the fields and from the fields to the grain storage areas are safe routes. If there is some question about whether equipment will clear a power conductor, assume that it won't and take measures to avoid possible contact.

More often than not, power lines follow property lines. When you reach the end of your field and turn your equipment, there's a very good chance power lines will be nearby. Always be alert to power lines on your property lines. Grain augers and bins are often used along property lines, too, since such placement appears to make the best use of the land. Again, be sure that the augers don't come into contact with power lines.

Crop storage equipment such as augers, balers and stackers can be extended in height to exceed electric code clearance for power lines. When you're working to store hay, take precautionary measures to be sure the stacking equipment won't come into contact with the power lines. It only takes one mistake to bring tragedy. If you're planning the construction of any new storage bins, be sure to take the placement of existing power lines into account. If you simply can't find adequate space to construct those bins away from power lines, contact PEC for advice.

Outdoor Safety Quick Tips:
Electricity and water don�t mix. Never use electrical appliances close to water, and never use electrically operated power tools in the rain or in wet conditions.

  • Electric-powered lawnmowers shouldn�t be used when grass is wet.
    Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before use for frayed power cords, or broken housings or plugs.
  • When using tools or extension cords outdoors, make sure they are marked for outdoor use.
  • Unplug all portable power tools when they�re not being used. Don�t leave power tools unattended, even briefly.
  • Metal ladders conduct electricity. Be careful of overhead wires and power lines.
  • Stay away from electrical equipment and substations.
  • If you see a downed power line, stay away from it and call 9-1-1 or PEC immediately.

Safety Programs

Safety programs are available for groups of all types and sizes. Volunteer fire departments, school classrooms, Boy/Girl Scout troups and any number of other organizations can benefit from these safety programs. For more information or to schedule a presentation for your group or organization, please call (580) 272-1529.