As temperatures start to cool down, we are reminded that it will soon be time to turn on heaters in our homes. As stores begin to fill with costumes and candies for Halloween, it is a sign that the holidays are approaching and it's only a matter of time before the lights start to sparkle on people's homes. And while holiday celebrations are on our minds, safety isn't always top of mind during this busy time of the year.
Oct. 9 commemorates the beginning of National Fire Prevention Week, which focuses on promoting fire safety prevention.
At SRP our goal with the Safety Connection program is to educate, communicate and build awareness about electrical safety and other issues ranging from outdoor safety, storm safety, electrical cord safety, safe appliance use, home heating safety and holiday lighting safety.
Here are just a few tips that can help keep you safe during the holidays and year round.
• Only use extension cords listed by a recognized certification organization such as Underwriters Laboratories ("UL listed"). Extension cords used outside should be specifically marked for such use. Improper use could result in a fire or shock hazard.
• Extension cords should have adequate capacity for the wattage of the tool or appliance you want to use. Don't run extension cords under rugs or carpeting; replace frayed cords and be careful not to overload circuits with too many plugs.
• Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets. Use of extension cords may lead to circuit overload and cause a fire.
• Check each set of holiday lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, loose connections, or frayed or bare wires. Discard all damaged cords.
• As the weather cools, it's also a good time to plant winter grass, trees and plants. Before you dig, make sure it's safe. Contact Arizona Blue Stake at (602) 659-7500, and they will come out and mark areas where there are underground telecommunication, electric or gas lines.
Another thing to look out for in terms of electrical safety is monsoons. Although monsoon season may be over, the Valley still experiences storms, which may result in power outages.
During major storms, we respond to customers and provide the latest outage information on Twitter at @SRPconnect (Twitter.com/SRPconnect). SRP also offers safety tips with links to YouTube videos (youtube.com/SRPconnect), and on our Facebook page (facebook.com/SRPconnect) where we answer questions, respond to customers, post photos of repairs and distribute outage information as needed.
In addition, SRP Safety Connection provides a free emergency preparedness brochure, "Emergency Preparedness and You," which addresses these tips and more. For more information or to order the Emergency Preparedness brochure, visit www.srpnet.com/safetymaterials or call (602) 236-4480.
Karen Fisch is manager of community outreach for SRP.