thumbnail%5B1%5D.jpgKnowledge is as powerful as electricity. Electricity always seeks the shortest path to the ground and looks for a good conductor, such as metal, that transmits it easily. The human body is also a good conductor because it is about 70% water. If you touch anything with a live current, a bare wire or faulty connection, electricity will pass through you to the ground. Depending on the strength of the current, the electricity could seriously injure or fatally shock you.

Victory Electric is more than your source of energy. We are also a valuable energy resource. That is why we provide our members with information that is as reliable and useful as the electricity we supply. Information ranges from safety tips to education to the latest energy efficient information. 

Safety Matters
Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show that nearly 400 people are electrocuted in the United States each year. Fortunately, most electrical fires and incidents can be prevented. Electrical safety awareness and education among members, families, employees and communities will prevent electrical fires, injuries, fatalities, and property loss.

  • Overloading powers strips and outlets greatly increase the possibility of an electrical fire.
  • Cords that are frayed, damaged or missing a prong pose fire hazards and a risk of electric shock. Always replace and never repair damaged cords.
  • You should never staple or nail a power cord to the wall. Doing so presents many risks like electric shock and damaging the cord, creating a fire risk.
  • Water is incredibly dangerous around any form of electricity. Also, electrical power is present when even the appliance is off, which is all the more reason to keep all electrical appliances away from water at all times.
  • Small appliances and electric devices: Always keep small appliances away from water, including sinks, baths, pools, etc. Never attempt to touch these appliances when your hands are wet.
  • Installing safety caps on all unused outlets is cheap and easy way to greatly reduce the chances of anyone (mainly children) from getting shocked.
  • You should never run cords under carpets or rugs, as they can overheat and cause a fire risk. Also, never run cords through doorways and open spaces as this poses a tripping hazard as well.
  • Always pull a cord out by the plug as this will ensure the cord will not break and post and electrocution risk.
  • 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.
  • Use the appropriate wattage light bulb for lighting fixtures.
  • There is enough electrical current in your home wiring to kill you. Respect it!

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where families gather to cook favorite recipes, share warm meals, and reconnect with each other, but it’s also the location where two-thirds of all home fires start. Identify and correct potential hazards in your kitchen before someone gets hurt.

  • Keep your stove and oven clean. Clean the exhaust hood and duct over the stove regularly.
  • Keep the cooking area around the stove/oven clear of combustibles, such as towels, napkins, and pot holders.
  • Plug counter top appliances into GFCI-protected outlets.
  • Locate all appliances away from the sink.
  • Keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces like the range or toaster.
  • Unplug the toaster and other counter top appliances when not in use.
  • Make sure there is room behind the refrigerator for air to circulate.
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils every three months to eliminate dirt buildup that can reduce efficiency and create a fire hazard.
  • Even a slight shock from a major appliance can indicate an extremely hazardous wiring condition. Turn the power to the appliance off at the circuit breaker. Do not touch the appliance until it has been checked by a licensed, qualified electrician.
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. Water can damage the motors in electrical appliances like freezers and refrigerators.

The average adult sleeps almost 8 hours per night, spending at least one-third of every day in their bedroom. Unfortunately, we are often at our most vulnerable while asleep. Thirty-six percent of people killed in home fires never wake up. Take steps to make sure your bedroom is safe—you’ll sleep better! 

  • Before installing a portable air conditioner, make sure that the electrical circuit and the outlet are able to handle the load.
  • Large window A/C units should have their own separate electrical circuit so the system is not overloaded.
  • Air conditioners need to be cleaned at the beginning of every season to keep them running safely and efficiently.
  • Check ceiling fans regularly for a wobble, which will wear out the motor over time. To fix the wobble, turn off power to the ceiling fan, and tighten the screws.
  • Replace any lamp whose cord is damaged or cracked.
  • Use correct bulb wattage in fixtures. Light bulbs with wattages that are too high for the light fixture can overheat the fixture and start a fire.
  • Always turn lamps off when you leave the room for an extended period of time.
  • If you have a rechargeable battery, be sure to use the proper battery charger intended for the size and type of battery you have.
  • Unplug battery chargers or power adapters when equipment is fully charged or is disconnected from the charger.

The family room is an area of the home where many people go to unwind and relax, but there are certainly a lot of appliances powered there. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average home today has three televisions, two DVD players, at least one digital camera, one desktop computer and two cell phones. Many homes and their electrical systems were built before most modern-day home electronics and appliances were even invented. Learn to recognize and eliminate potential electrical hazards that can exist in common areas of your home. 

  • Make sure entertainment centers and computer equipment have plenty of space around them for ventilation.
  • Extension cords are for temporary use only, and are not intended to be used as a permanent power supply.
  • Do not place extension cords in high traffic areas, under carpets, or across walkways, where they pose a potential tripping hazard.
  • Examine extension cords before each use. Replace cracked or damaged cords immediately.
  • Use a surge protector to protect your computer and other electronic equipment from damage caused by voltage changes.
  • Consider purchasing surge protectors with cable and phone jacks to provide similar protection to your phone, fax, computer modem, and television.
  • Heavy reliance on power strips in an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have additional outlets installed by a licensed, qualified electrician as needed.
  • Keep liquids, including drinks, away from electrical items such as televisions and computers.

The basement is one of the most commonly ignored areas of the home. Yet, it is also where some of your most essential—and expensive—home electrical equipment is kept. Heating equipment and electrical distribution systems are two of the leading causes of home fires. You can help keep your home safe by learning the basics of how these systems work and making sure they are properly maintained. 

  • Check the label inside the door or cover of your electrical service panel to see when your electrical system was last inspected.
  • Be sure circuit breakers and fuses are correctly labeled with their amperage and what rooms, circuits or outlets they service. Use correct size and current rating for breakers/fuses.
  • Increase your fire protection by having a qualified, licensed electrician replace your standard circuit breakers with AFCI breakers.
  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a licensed, qualified professional.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment, such as furnaces, stoves, and fireplaces, is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
  • Lower the setting on water heater thermostats to 120° Fahrenheit or below.
  • Turn off electric water heaters/turn down gas water heaters before you go away on vacation.
  • Clean the dryer lint filter after each load, and keep the area around the dryer free of clutter.
  • Check periodically for excessive vibration or movement when the washing machine or dryer is operating, which can put stress on electrical connections.

It is important to use extreme caution and stay away from overhead power lines. Electricity is always trying to go somewhere. It goes easily through materials like metal, water, trees, the ground, and things with water in them – like animals and PEOPLE. 
Call us. Never touch a power line with a part of your body, or with any object – and never cross a substation fence. Never cut trees or vegetation near overhead power lines until you have met with a Victory Electric representative.  Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe:

  • Look up! Always examine your surroundings for power line locations before doing any outsidePowerline-Safety.jpg work.
  • Downed power lines: Always assume downed power lines are “live” and stay away. Do not attempt to remove anything in contact with a downed power line or drive across a downed power line. Power lines are not insulated like power cards.
  • Electricity and water don't mix. Keep electrical appliances and toys away from water, including rain, wet ground, swimming pools, sprinklers and hoses.
  • Meters and other electrical equipment may be located on the outside of a home or building. The meter measures the amount of electricity used. Never tamper with this or any electrical equipment. Tampering with meters is illegal and dangerous.
  • Be cautious on the roof. Working on a roof may put you close to an overhead power line. Avoid standing up and accidentally touching a line with your head or shoulder.
  • Use care when painting. When house painting, ensure that nothing, including you, your ladder, your paintbrush or roller, comes in contact with the power line supplying electricity to your home.
  • Be careful with ladders and other metal objects. When using an aluminum ladder, check above you for power lines. Aluminum is an exceptionally good conductor of electricity. If you touch a power line with an aluminum ladder, you could be seriously injured or killed. The same goes for antennas, metal gutters and other long metal objects. Take extra care to ensure that they don’t inadvertently touch a power line.
  • Call before working or lifting. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires anyone working or lifting within 10 feet of overhead power lines or poles to contact the appropriate utility. This distance could be greater when dealing with higher voltage.
  • Don’t prune near power lines. Call before cutting. Never cut trees near overhead power lines until you have met with a company representative for an evaluation of the trees and vegetation around power lines. Pruning trees or vegetation around power lines should only be attempted by trained professionals. Serious injuries and even fatalities have occurred when untrained individuals do this work without the assistance of qualified professionals.
  • Do not plant trees or vegetation to grow up or near utility poles or guy wires.
  • Do not throw objects up into power lines. This can cause short circuits, and could result in injuries. This includes items you might not consider conductive, like ropes and strings.
  • See something tangled in a power line? Stay clear. Never attempt to move an object (tree limb, kite, model airplane, etc.) from a power line yourself. Never climb the pole. Contact Victory Electric – we can help.
  • Distribution wires are "live" – with electrical power that can hurt you. Never shoot or throw anything at wires, insulators or pole transformers.
  • Fly kites, model planes and balloons safely. Teach children to never fly kites, model airplanes or balloons near overhead power lines. Fly them only in wide-open spaces like a field or on a beach. Never use metal, foil or wire in your kite or kite string.
  • Warn children to never climb a tree that is near power lines. If the wind or child’s weight causes a limb to touch a wire, there is danger of electrocution to anyone in or near the tree.
  • Guy wires keep poles standing. Don't climb or hang anything on guy wires.
  • Although the heavy green housing is there to ward off interference, pad-mounted transformers are never considered safe to play on or around. Do not let children play on or near transformer boxes, or put anything in them. If you see an unlocked transformer box, please contact Victory Electric.
  • Never climb utility poles, towers or substation fences.
  • Obey warning signs. "DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE" and other warning signs are posted in some locations. But remember, all electrical equipment can be dangerous.
  • Substations are not playgrounds. At neighborhood substations, high-voltage electricity is reduced to be sent to homes. Don't climb over or crawl under substation fences, walls or gates. If a ball or toy goes over a fence and into a substation, call Victory Electric. We will come and get it out for you.
  • Stay inside during storms. When there is lightning, get inside a building or car if possible. Keep away from windows and open doors. 

Farming is among the more dangerous occupations for several reasons, including potential for encounters with electrical hazards. Before taking to the fields we urges farm workers to be aware of overhead power lines and to keep equipment and extensions far away from them.

Victory Electric encourages farm managers to share this information with their families and workers to keep them safe from electrical accidents.

  • Start each morning by planning your day’s work. Know what jobs will happen near power lines and have a plan to keep the assigned workers safe.
  • Keep yourself and equipment at least 30 feet away from power lines in all directions, at all times. Use a spotter when moving tall equipment and loads.
  • Use care when raising augers or the bed of a grain truck. It can be difficult to estimate distance, and sometimes, a power line is closer than it looks. Use a spotter to make certain you stay far away from power lines.
  • Always lower equipment extensions, portable augers, or elevators to their lowest possible level, under 14 feet, before moving or transporting them. Wind, uneven ground, shifting weight, or other conditions can cause you to lose control of equipment and make contact with power lines.
  • Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern tractors with higher antennas.
  • Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path. If power lines near your property have sagged over time, call your utility to repair them.
  • Don’t use metal poles when breaking up bridged grain inside and around bins.
  • As in any outdoor work, be careful not to raise any equipment, such as ladders, poles, or rods, into power lines. Remember, non-metallic materials, such as lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes, and hay, will conduct electricity, depending on dampness and dust and dirt contamination.
  • Use qualified electricians for work on drying equipment and other farm electrical systems.
  • If you are on equipment that contacts a power line, do not exit the equipment. When you step off the equipment, you become the electricity’s path to ground and receive a potentially fatal shock. Wait until utility workers have de-energized the line and confirmed it is safe for you to exit the vehicle. If the vehicle is on fire and you must exit, jump clear of the vehicle with both feet together. Hop as far from the vehicle as you can with your feet together. Keep your feet together to prevent current flow through your body, which could be deadly.
  • Electrical work around the farm can also pose hazards. Often, the need for an electrical repair comes when a farmer has been working long hours and is fatigued. At such times, it’s best to step back and wait until you’ve rested.
  • Confirm your farm’s entire electrical system is properly grounded. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) receptacles or breakers should be checked monthly to ensure they are in good operating condition. Ensure electrical tools have proper grounding protection.
  • Ensure family members and all hired farm workers know where and how to disconnect power in case of an electrical emergency.
  • All farm workers should be aware of the height of electrical lines and farm equipment, as many dump bed trucks, wagons, loaders and more can contact electrical lines, causing fatal accidents. 
  • Does your farm have a safety plan? Designate one person to this task. Hazard assessments, emergency procedures and communication methods should all be considered. On any farm, it's important to plan for safety.
  • It is a good idea to have someone trained in first aid on each farm work team. Keep well stocked first aid kits and updated fire extinguishers on hand at each work site. Be sure workers know how to use a fire extinguisher. And keep important phone numbers on hand in case of emergency.

Electrical safety is a major hazard on farms. Regular electrical inspections are necessary to prevent accidents due to malfunctioning or old electrical equipment. Pick a time of year to annually inspect all machinery and electrical equipment, including clearing outlets, lighting, electrical panels and equipment from obstructions or debris. Check to make sure wires have not been affected by mice or other animals and carefully examine all connections. Partially destructed wires can cause electrical shorts and potentially fatal electrical hazards.