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Be prepared for summer storms and power outages

Linemen from Polk-Burnett Electric Co-op practice safety every day. In recognition of National Electrical Safety Month this May, they remind the public to be prepared for summer storms and outages.  Summer storms can cause electrical safety hazards on your property. Lightning, downed power lines, standing water and power outages are just a few serious safety concerns. To protect your family, follow these safety tips:

Q: What should I do if I’m caught outside during a lightning storm?
A: Lightning strikes tall targets, so move to a low point and crouch down. Stay away from trees. Avoid metal objects (bats, golf clubs, fishing rods, tennis rackets, tools, ladders). And stay away from water (pools, lakes, puddles).

Q: Am I safer in or out of my car during a lightning storm?
A: You are safer in your car. Do not leave your vehicle during a thunderstorm.

Q: What should I do if I encounter a downed power line?
A: Stay away from all downed power lines, and do not drive over downed power lines.  If you are standing near a line that falls down, shuffle away keeping both feet together and on the ground. If you are in a car near downed power lines, do not get out of the vehicle. Report hazard to Polk-Burnett.

Q: My basement flooded and there is standing water. Is it safe to go down there?
A: Never step into a flooded basement or building if water is covering outlets, appliances or cords. Never touch electric appliances, wires or cords while you are wet or standing in water. Never turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. Contact the co-op to shut power off at the meter.

Q: I bought a portable generator to be prepared for the next power outage. Can I plug it into an outlet?
A: Do not connect generator to an outlet or home wiring unless a transfer switch has been installed by a licensed electrician. Without a transfer switch, electricity can backfeed through the home to power lines, creating an electrocution hazard for linemen making repairs. Also, never operate a generator inside; this can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.

Report outages and hazards to your electric co-op, 800-421-0283.
Read more safety tips and see life-saving safety videos.
Read more about power outages and see our real-time outage map.

 

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