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Treat electricity with respect

Light BulbElectricity is a necessity for hardworking farmers and ranchers, but electrical hazards on a farm or ranch can be dangerous, even deadly. Electrical safety is key to prevent fires, injuries, electrocution and potential death.

Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative urges you to watch for electrical hazards around the farm or ranch, and follow these tips:

Electrical panels

  • Always use properly sized fuses or breakers in the boxes. Use of the proper size will prevent overheating of the wire from excess current. If a fuse is repeatedly blown, or a breaker is repeatedly tripped, find the cause.
  • Periodically check the panel and boxes for spiderwebs, and mouse and insect nests, particularly the older installations that may not be sealed properly. Cleaning around the panels can help to prevent overheating.

Outlets

  • It is preferable that all outlets be of the three-prong grounded type.
  • In areas that tend to remain wet or where water is nearby, a ground-fault circuit interrupter is necessary. These devices can interrupt a power surge in as little as 25/1,000 of a second. Adapters to plug into three-prong outlets are available to provide protection at the outlet. In addition, ground-fault circuit interrupter breakers are available to protect a whole circuit.

Extension cords

  • Many times, an extension cord that is being used “temporarily” can become “permanent.” If a piece of equipment is going to stay in one place for any length of time, it should have a properly grounded outlet. Extension cords can be damaged over time, creating hazards.
  • Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance or device being used.
  • Inspect cords for damage before use. Check for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires and loose connections. Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way.
  • Do not run extension cords through walls or ceilings. Do not nail or staple electrical cords to walls.

Outside hazards

  • Use a spotter when operating large machinery near lines. A driver’s vantage point from the cab may not be sufficient.
  • Keep equipment at least 10 feet from lines, at all times, in all directions.
  • Look up and use care when raising any equipment such as ladders, front-end loaders or augers. The number one electrical hazard on a farm is the potential contact from a grain auger.
  • Inspect the height of the farm equipment to determine clearance
  • Always remember to lower extensions to the lowest setting when moving loads.
  • Never attempt to move a power line out of the way or raise it for clearance.
  • If a power line is sagging or low, contact your electric cooperative.
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