Category: Safety

15th Annual Kentucky Lineman’s Rodeo

Teams from electric cooperatives around Kentucky will be in the area Sept 26-27

Electric cooperatives power more 1.5 million people across Kentucky. Everyday, lineworkers labor in all conditions to keep the power on for their members. Once a year, some of these lineworkers come together in a unique competition.

The Kentucky Lineman’s Rodeo attracts the best lineworkers from around the commonwealth to compete in events based on traditional lineman tasks and skills. This year, Nolin RECC along with Kentucky Electric Cooperatives is hosting this friendly competition at the Hardin County Fairgrounds September 26-27.

The action begins Thursday, September 26 at 9am with individual Journeyman, Apprentice and Senior events. They will compete in Hurtman Rescue, Skills Climb, Angle Clip and a mystery event. On Friday, September 27, there will be a Lineman Memorial at 7:30am with team competition starting at 8:30am. Team events include Hurtman Rescue, Cutout Replace, Suspension Insulator and a mystery event.

“Safety is a priority for all of our lineworkers in everything they do. The Rodeo is about friendly competition, but the focus really is on safety and the skill it takes to do the difficult work that they do in their jobs everyday,” says Nolin RECC Manager of Communications Sarah Fellows.

The first Kentucky Lineman’s Rodeo was held in August 2005, with nearly 70 linemen competing. The Rodeo has grown to over 200 teams and 250 apprentices. The event is free and open to the public.

First 72 On You – Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Cold Temps

FRANKFORT (Nov. 15, 2018) – As part of the year-long First 72 On You campaign, the Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is spotlighting cold weather preparedness efforts to remind Kentuckians of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, hypothermia and foodborne illness from possible power outages and cold weather conditions.

A Facebook Live discussion on this important topic will be held on Friday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. (Eastern). Watch on the Cabinet’s Facebook page:

“When temperatures drop significantly below normal such as during a cold spell or during a long-term power outage, staying warm and safe can become a challenge,” said Jeffrey Howard Jr., M.D., DPH commissioner. “Carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia are deadly and should be taken seriously. We urge Kentuckians to take steps to prevent exposure to both cold temperatures and carbon monoxide by avoiding using alternative heating sources like propane heaters, gas-powered stoves and charcoal grills while indoors. It can be a matter of life or death.”

Officials at DPH strongly encourage residents to follow these guidelines below to prevent injury, illness or death:

Carbon Monoxide Safety

  • Avoid using alternative heating sources such as portable generators, kerosene heaters, propane gas stoves and ovens heated with gasoline indoors because this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, garage or near a window.
  • Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don’t burn items in a stove or fireplace that isn’t properly vented.
  • Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
  • Don’t place a portable heater within reach of children or pets and don’t use a power strip or extension cord. Look for the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label and carefully read instructions before use.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and replace batteries as required. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and dial 911.
  • Seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 if you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Initial symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. If recognized early, carbon monoxide poisoning is treatable.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning or if you have questions, call the Kentucky Poison Control hot line at (800) 222-1222.


Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature drops below what is necessary to achieve normal metabolism and other bodily functions. In severe cases or when the body is not warmed properly, death can result. People exposed to and not sufficiently prepared for cold weather also are at an increased risk for hypothermia.

Important steps to prevent hypothermia include:

  • Wear appropriate clothing. Layer clothes made of synthetic and wool fabrics, which are best for keeping warm. Always remember to wear hats, coats, scarves and gloves.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol if outdoors. Alcohol can speed the loss of heat from the body. Avoid overexertion from activities that cause excessive sweat, which can lead to damp clothing, causing chills. Stay as dry as possible.
  • Outdoor workers should make sure they are dressed appropriately and take frequent breaks to warm up and ensure their clothes are sufficient to keep them warm and dry.
  • Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, altered speech pattern, abnormally slow rate of breathing; cold, pale skin; and lethargy. Seek medical attention if you experience signs of hypothermia. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.

Food Safety

  • Refrigerated foods should be safe as long as power is out for no more than four hours.
  • If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, read the temperature when power comes back on. If the thermometer stored in the freezer reads 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
  • Throw out any perishable food in your refrigerator, such as meat, poultry, lunchmeats, fish, dairy products, eggs and any prepared or cooked foods that have been above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours or more. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, it is safe to refreeze.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are safe as long as they are still firm and there is no evidence of mold or sliminess. Raw meats, poultry, cheese, juices, breads and pastries can be refrozen without losing too much food quality. Prepared food, fish, vegetables and fruits in the freezer can be refrozen safely, but food quality may suffer.
  • To remove spills and freshen the freezer and refrigerator, DPH recommends washing with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in one quart of warm water. To absorb any lingering odors, place an open box or dish of baking soda in the appliance.

Questions for the First 72 On YouFacebook Live discussion with state public health officials can be emailed in advance to chfs.communications@ky.govor posted in the comments section during the event at

More information about how to stay safe and healthy in cold weather can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at


Kentucky’s electric co-ops focus on safety of elderly community


With the elderly community expected to grow to one in five Americans by the year 2050, Kentucky’s electric cooperatives are looking to decrease the deaths in those 64 and older due to electrical dangers. The U.S. Fire Administration statistics note that approximately 1,000 seniors die each year in fires.  

“Our older members are especially vulnerable when they’re cooking or if they aren’t using auxiliary heaters correctly,” says Chris Perry, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives.  

A number of factors increase their risk for danger, including slower reflexes, which may also be impacted by medication, thinner skin and other health issues.  

“One of the easiest ways to improve your chances of surviving a fire is to make sure the smoke alarm in your home is working,” Perry says. “Change the alarm’s batteries twice a year—once in the spring and once in the fall.” 

Some other quick tips to remember are never leave pots and pans unattended to avoid creating a fire hazard, and never open the oven door if something catches on fire. If the fire does not go down on its own, leave the house and call 911. When handling electrical cords, they shouldn’t be secured on walls or floors with nails, staples or tacks because it could risk damaging the cords. Following these at-home tips can decrease electrical dangers. 

Linemen show off skills at annual Rodeo

Every day, lineworkers across Kentucky are out in remote areas of the state doing what it takes to keep the power flowing to more than 1.5 million people served by electric co-ops. Once a year, however, a select group of these lineworkers come together for two days of competition like no other, the Kentucky Lineman’s Rodeo.

On Sept. 13-14, 125 lineworkers representing 17 of Kentucky’s electric co-ops converged on the Murray-Calloway County Fairgrounds to compete in the 14th annual rodeo.

Click here for list of winners and scores

“It’s about teamwork, it’s about camaraderie and it’s about showing off the skills these linemen have learned,” says David Smart, president and CEO of West Kentucky Rural Electric, which hosted this year’s event.

Blue Grass Energy was the big winner, sweeping the overall individual journeymen category and taking first in the overall team category. Tim Hembree, a journeyman lineman from Blue Grass, placed in the top three in eight categories.

“The Kentucky’s Lineman’s Rodeo is an opportunity for linemen to demonstrate their commitment to safety while showcasing their skills,” says Mike Williams, president and CEO of Blue Grass Energy. “I’m very proud of the hard work and dedication to safety that not only our lineworkers, but all linemen demonstrated while participating in this event.”

The Lineman’s Rodeo was created by the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives to promote safety for co-op linemen around the state. The training and skills of these linemen are part of the mission of Kentucky’s electric cooperatives, to provide a high level of electrical services at the lowest possible price through a local, consumer-owned form of business.

“Training for the rodeo has really helped our younger guys,” says Randy Meredith of Nolin RECC, which will host the 2019 rodeo. “They improved in safety and they improved in their technique. So, it was a real win, win situation.

Seven senior individuals, 36 individual journeymen and 36 apprentice lineworkers competed in these events: Capacitator De-Energize, Line De-Energize and Armor Rod & Tie. There were 31 teams from the 17 co-ops that competed in the OCR Changeout, Line Replacement and Underarm Disconnect competitions. Individuals and teams competed in the “Hurt man” competition, which focuses on following the correct procedures in the event someone needs to be rescued after coming into contact with a live wire.

Jason Isaacs, a lineman for Blue Grass who competed for the first time, says the experience was one he plans on repeating.

“It was nerve-racking, but it was a great experience,” he says. “With everyone watching, you just want to do good.”


UPDATE: Florence spares co-ops linked to Ky crews

Kentucky mutual aid crews back home

UPDATED September 16, 2018 – 3:00pm –Though tens of thousands of South Carolina homes and businesses remained without power on Sunday afternoon, Hurricane Florence largely spared the electric cooperative that had asked for help from sister co-ops in Kentucky.

As a result, Kentucky co-op crews that deployed on Saturday morning are back home, and other crews on standby are also not likely to be needed during this effort, according to Clarence Greene, Safety and Loss Prevention Director at the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives.

19 Kentucky electric cooperatives had committed 160 lineworkers and released more than 150 right-of-way and construction contract workers to the mutual aid response. Crews are deployed only at the request of specific co-ops.

When Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday, Berkeley Electric Cooperative in southeast South Carolina requested help from the Kentucky co-ops. Most of the power outages, however, have ultimately affected northeast South Carolina, territories where other mutual aid crews are responding.

Click here for an outage map of South Carolina electric cooperatives.

“We continue to pray for the safety of everyone affected by this storm, including the mutual aid crews who are working to help,” Greene said. “Though we have not been pressed into service this time, we are proud to be a part of an electric cooperative program whose members stand ready to help.”

Through a careful coordination of mutual aid from co-ops in 12 states across the Midwest and Southeast, crews were paired with co-ops in the storm’s path. On daily conference calls in the days leading up to and through landfall, safety teams from each state assessed optimal deployments.

In addition, United Utility Supply Cooperative also responded to Hurricane Florence needs. The Kentucky-based co-op implemented its storm emergency plan, providing round-the-clock support to meet the material needs of co-ops affected by Hurricane Florence. UUS made pre-storm deliveries to cooperatives in the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware areas and reached out to cooperatively owned material suppliers in South Carolina and North Carolina.

Kentucky co-op mutual aid deployments are coordinated by the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives. The  deployments had shifted to South Carolina on Friday after co-ops who had originally asked for help in Virginia alerted KAEC that they no longer needed help.

The list of Kentucky electric cooperatives set to deploy lineworkers includes Blue Grass Energy, Clark Energy Cooperative, Cumberland Valley RECC, Farmers RECC, Fleming Mason Energy, Jackson Energy Cooperative, Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation, Kenergy Corp., Licking Valley RECC, Meade County RECC, Nolin RECC, Owen Electric Cooperative, Pennyrile Electric, Salt River Electric, Shelby Energy Cooperative, South Kentucky RECC, Warren RECC, and West Kentucky RECC.

In addition, Tri-County EMC, which serves both Kentucky and Tennessee co-op members, deployed crews to North Carolina.

The top priority of each local Kentucky co-op is service to its own consumer-members.  Before committing resources to mutual aid requests, each co-op ensures it has ample crews available for all local needs, including routine maintenance and emergencies.

One year ago, 131 Kentucky co-op workers helped restore power in Georgia after Hurricane Irma. The largest mutual aid deployment in Kentucky co-op history came in 2016 when 143 lineworkers responded to Hurricane Matthew.

Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives has been built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.

Battery basics: What you don’t know about batteries can hurt you

Batteries provide a portable, and usually safe, source of electricity. From batteries in our cell phones to industrial-sized backups, we rely on them every day. 

 Although they may seem harmless, safety should always be a top concern when using and replacing batteries.  

Batteries produce hydrogen gas. When hydrogen gas mixes with oxygen and meets an ignition source, like a spark, an explosion can occur. Excess hydrogen gas is most likely to be created when batteries are charging or when batteries are mismatched, damaged or connected incorrectly. 

As batteries discharge, through use or gradual self-discharge, hydrogen gas is also generated, increasing pressure in the battery and causing the insulating seals at the end of the battery to rupture. As batteries age, the steel outer canister may corrode or rust. The crystals found on corroded batteries can cause respiratory, eye and skin irritations. 

KAEC has some tips to help you use this dependable source of power safely:  

  • Always note the warnings and the manufacturers’ instructions for both the batteries and the battery-powered product.  
  • Do not mix batteries of different brands. 
  • Confirm that the contacts of both the battery and product are clean of any corrosion.  
  • When inserting the battery, match the positive and negative symbols of both the battery and product. While putting the batteries in backward may allow the product to operate, it may accidentally charge the batteries resulting in venting or leaking. 
  • Safely dispose of used batteries. 
  • Don’t mix batteries of different types, such as alkaline and non-alkaline or rechargeable and non-rechargeable. 
  • Do not heat or damage batteries.  
  • When storing a device, remove its batteries. 

Keep batteries out of sight and out of reach of children 

With electronics getting smaller, many devices now use coin-size lithium batteries, also called button batteries. 

Little kids love to explore and put things in their mouths, but these batteries can cause serious injury when swallowed. If a coin lithium battery gets stuck in the esophagus, there may not be any immediate symptoms, but the saliva triggers an electrical current. This chemical reaction can cause it to burn through the tissue in as little as two hours. This can require multiple surgeries and ongoing medical care to repair. Even after the battery is removed, kids can experience side effects to their vocal cords and windpipe. 

 If you know or suspect your child has swallowed a battery, go to the emergency room immediately. 

 Each year in the United States, nearly 3,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for swallowing these tiny batteries.  

 Keep coin-size lithium battery-controlled devices, including remote controls, watches and singing greeting cards, out of sight and reach of children. Childproof your home as much as possible, and be aware of your child’s surroundings and what could be dangerous. Consider placing duct tape over the controller to prevent kids from reaching the battery, and always lock away loose batteries.  

 Sources: Electrical Safety Foundation International, Safety Toolbox Topics, Consumer Reports 

Cybersafety checklist

How to keep hackers out of your home so you can enjoy the internet

Cyber criminals are only getting better. They don’t need any help.

If your online password is 1-2-3-4, or you click on links in your Facebook feed without being sure where they lead, it’s time to click your inner “refresh” button for some system maintenance.

Electric cooperatives across Kentucky and the nation are marking National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October with reminders to members.

Co-ops protect the private information of members and ensure hackers don’t tamper with the reliability of the electric grid, but consumers have a lot at stake, too. Think about losing all the photos on your smartphone or having bank or credit card information stolen from your computer.

“Cyber criminals attack the easiest targets for the least amount of work,” says Chris Hayes, chief technology officer for the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives.

“That’s why consumers are twice as likely to be attacked than companies,” Hayes explains. “Consumers can take a few basic steps to reduce their risk of becoming a target and to protect their information.”

Mix it up 

Don’t use the same password or password reset questions for multiple online accounts.

Hayes warns that hackers often target less important accounts to get access to the account information of more secure accounts. Prevention methods such as two-factor authentication can be set up to prevent unauthorized access.

“Your fantasy football league could be used to pry open your checking account,” Hayes says.

Just hang up

“A computer or software company will never call you to let you know you have a virus or issue with your computer,” Hayes says. “Scam artists call and say your computer has a virus, and then try to walk you through steps to clean it up. That typically involves installing an actual virus or convincing you to pay for something where they steal your money.”

Attachment issues

Do not click on any link or attached files unless you know where it will take you.

A lot of the computer hacking problems you hear about in the news result from people clicking on links or attached files that infect their computers or mobile devices. Emails are often disguised to look like they are coming from your best friend, so simple diligence can be extremely beneficial.

Hayes suggests the best method is to verbally confirm with the sender that they sent the email and attachment.

Prevent defense

Install and use virus protection, but remember it’s not a failsafe. With modern viruses and spyware, anti-virus cannot be solely trusted to protect your data.

Don’t put that in your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been

Be cautious with USB flash drives.

“Never use flash drives that you find or are given from unknown sources,” Hayes says.

“Viruses can be loaded on the drives and then left in public areas for the unsuspecting user who picks up the drive and plugs it into their computer. Be wary of plugging into public computers. Online cloud storage is a great alternative.”

Calling for back up

Make sure you have a current copy of everything on your computer or mobile device. Every few weeks, transfer the contents to an external storage system that is stored in a separate location. Even better, consider a cloud-based system as your primary, which automatically backs up daily, and an external backup drive as your secondary.

What if your computer or phone was lost or stolen? Recent computer attacks involve ransomware that locks your computer and threatens to delete or prevent access unless you pay a ransom to the hackers. The FBI does not recommend paying a ransom to the adversary unless all other options have been exhausted and it is absolutely necessary. Paying a ransom does not guarantee the victim will regain access to their data.

Weakest link

Secure all your internet-connected devices by keeping them up to date with the most recent software updates and make sure each device has a secure password. Hackers have started invading wireless printers and baby monitors that work through the internet. These devices tend to have extremely weak, preset passwords that you probably don’t even notice. Any internet-connected device is vulnerable—smart TVs, cameras, voice-activated speakers, thermostats, video games, fitness bracelets, internet-connected refrigerators, and light bulbs.

What’s the matter with kids today?

Instruct children not to share information such as birth dates, ID numbers, vacation plans, accounts, and passwords.

“Kids frequently share Netflix accounts, which may have the same password or information as other accounts,” Hayes says. “Learn to use parental control options on your hardware and software.”

To learn more about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and to view additional cybersecurity tips, visit

By Joe Arnold

Portable generator safety tips

The following list of tips is not inclusive. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guide that came with your portable generator.

  • Read and adhere to all manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation. Professionally and permanently installed standby generators are actually a safer and more reliable option than portable generators because they are mounted a safe distance from your home and run directly from a fuel source.
  • Never plug a generator into a wall outlet or directly into your home’s wiring. Contact a licensed electrician to install a properly rated power transfer switch. This protects you and your appliances and protects co-op workers from shock while restoring power.
  • Ensure your generator is properly grounded.
  • Never, ever use a generator indoors—even with windows open—or in an enclosed area, including never in an attached garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or any other enclosed or partially enclosed area—even if it’s ventilated.
  • If you must use a generator, install a carbon monoxide detector and test batteries monthly. Carbon monoxide (CO), which is odorless and invisible, can build up to lethal levels in a matter of minutes.
  • Locate the generator where fumes cannot filter into your home through windows, doors, vents, or other openings.
  • Start the generator first before connecting appliances. 
  • Make sure the generator stays dry during operation, and never touch electrical equipment with wet hands. Water and electrical devices don’t mix. To prevent shocks or electrocution, the generator must be kept far away from water or precipitation. Operate it on a dry surface under an open structure.
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never attempt to refuel the generator while it’s running or hot. Gasoline and its vapors may ignite if they come in contact with hot components or an electrical spark. Turn the unit off and allow it to cool down first.
  • Store fuel in a properly labeled safety container, in a secure location outside of living areas and away from the generator or other fuel-burning appliances. Local laws may restrict how much fuel you can store and where you can store it. Check with your local fire department for details.
  • Locate the generator where fumes cannot filter into your home through windows, doors, vents, or other openings-even 15 feet is too close. Carbon monoxide (CO), which is odorless and invisible, can build up to lethal levels in a matter of minutes. If you must use a generator, install a carbon monoxide detector and test batteries monthly.
  • Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
  • Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Practice proper maintenance procedures between uses. Refuel it with treated fuel from the generator before putting the unit away. It’s also a good idea to inspect the fuel and oil filters, spark plug, oil level, and fuel quality. Start the generator on a regular basis to make sure it’s running properly.


KAEC Safety Director Clarence Greene’s: What to know before, during, and after you buy a portable generator

What do I think about when shopping for a portable generator? Most portable generators will not power your whole house or all appliances at once. You may need to rotate important loads like refrigerators, lights freezers and heaters to keep from overloading a generator. Keep in mind that you may also have to assemble the unit.

What will a 6000-watt generator cover?  This size would be limited to powering a couple portable heaters, refrigerator, lights  and TVs or computers not the whole house.

What’s important when choosing between a battery-start and a pull-start generator? The pull-start generator requires a hard pull, such as starting a lawn mower. A battery-start generator requires you must have a charged battery to start the generator.

What are some of the fuel types of generators? A 4- cycle generator burns normal lawn mower gas; a 2-cycle generator, which include some smaller generators, requires a gas-oil mix; propane and natural gas generators require pressurized gas (such as your heating system) and are usually built-in or permanent-type generators.

Where do I store my generator? Store it in a dry location that is easy to get into position to supply power during an outage, fueled up with fuel that has storage treatment. Regularly start it and monitor its operation and keep enough fuel available to run the generator several days. Also, store a large drop cord that is generator compatible to run your appliances.

Where do I locate my portable generator? I have my temporary power supply generator parked in a safe place, close to where I will operate it in case of an outage. I usually wait a few hours to determine the utility’s electric restore time by checking their website and watching news for severity of storm or outages before starting the generator.

Do I need a generator for this outage? Before starting the generator, check with your local electric co-op whenever possible, for restore information about your location. You may be on a critical line that is restored sooner than normal, or you may be in a remote location that will take longer to repair power service.

What other things do I need to think about? Other than just starting it, you need to check fuel, check oil, get it in a safe place to run, and bring UL-rated, heavy-duty drop cords through a window or dedicated entrance point to supply power to selected appliances.

How long should I run it? You will need to decide if you are going to run it all the time, or only run it a few hours a day to conserve fuel and preserve home atmosphere

Can I wire it directly into my electrical wiring of the house? ABSOLUTELY NOT. DO NOT plug it directly into a regular wall outlet or wire it into your home’s wiring. It could send high voltage to the repair persons working on your line. Use a licensed, professional electricity to hook up your generator. This means you will need to plan in advance to install a portable or standby generator.

Where do I place the generator? Place it somewhere safe from theft, such as chained to something. Place it away from windows, vents, flus, and furnace intakes, and away from combustibles like leaves, wood piles, garbage cans, etc.

I have some lights on watching KET and my lights flicker. Why? Maybe it is out of fuel. Check fuel and refuel after it cools off, check oil level, then restart. Check the manual for how long it will run on a tank of fuel.

Once the power is back on, what do I do? I give it a few minutes to make sure the local electric co-op power is on, then turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting the generator down. Service it soon afterward, refuel it with treated fuel, store it, and store your cords nearby where you can find them in the time of need.

Remember, the generator power can still shock, burn and kill you if handled wrong. Never cut corners when it comes to safety!

Be safe around pad-mounted transformers

That “big green box” in your yard needs space

Transformers change voltage from higher levels to voltages people use in their homes for their electronics, appliances and lighting.

While overhead power lines are mounted on utility poles and substations are protected by security fences, pad-mounted equipment is at ground level.

Clarence Greene, Safety and Loss Prevention director with Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, says, “If you see kids playing near pad-mounted transformers, ask them to move elsewhere, away from the electrical equipment.”

In many newer subdivisions and residential developments, overhead lines are no longer installed above ground. While consumers seldom see technicians working on the underground equipment, they are regularly inspected by co-op crews.

“It’s also important that landscaping and other barriers be kept clear of co-op equipment,” says Greene. “Co-op technicians need at least 10 feet of clearance at the opening side of a pad-mounted transformer. Approximately 4 feet of open space is preferable at the rear and on the sides of the metal housing.”

It’s important to check with your local electric co-op before planting shrubs or trees, setting fence posts, installing sprinkler systems and digging where it might damage underground lines.

Tips For How To Safely Clean Up After A Storm

When a storm has passed, learn the safety precautions to take once it’s gone.

After a storm, many think the danger left with the high winds, heavy rain and lightning strikes; but sometimes danger can come during the storm recovery period. Keeping your distance from downed power lines, and follow these safety tips for cleaning up after a storm:

Wear proper safety material: As you are cleaning up, make sure you are wearing proper protection to prevent injury. Work gloves, safety glasses, heavy-duty work shirt with long sleeves, work pants and steel-toe work boots are a good idea if you are working on clearing large amounts of broken, splintered or sharp debris.

Stay away from power lines: Always assume a downed power line is live. Downed power lines pose a particularly dangerous threat in areas where there are lots of people trying to clear fallen trees and branches from roads and lawns. Let the professionals handle this job. It’s not worth the risk. If you see a downed power line that is sparking or on fire, call your local power company immediately.

Use flashlights, not candles: When checking for damage to a home, never use matches, candles, lighters or kerosene lanterns as a light source. Igniting a flame while near damaged gas lines can cause an explosion.

Stay away from damaged buildings or structures: If a building has been subjected to rushing flood waters or has been submerged under water, it may not be structurally safe. It’s best to stay away from these types of structures until professionals can assess the extent of the damage.

Never operate gasoline-powered equipment indoors: Gas engines emit carbon monoxide—an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas you should never breathe.