MidAmerican Energy Company wants customers to observe stars, stripes and safety this Independence Day. Whether swimming at a nearby lake or barbequing with friends and family, the company encourages customers to follow these five tips to ensure a fun and safe holiday.
1. Water and electricity don’t mix. Before you jump into the pool or lake this Fourth of July, be conscious of electrical hazards. Keep all electrical items at least ten feet away from water. Don’t use electric tools such as hedge trimmers when it’s raining, and be sure cords aren’t running through standing water. If an electrical appliance falls into water, never reach in to grab it. First, make sure you are dry and not touching any metal objects, then unplug it or switch off the circuit breaker.
2. Barbeque smart. Each year an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Never use a grill indoors. Gases produced by charcoal or gas grills can be extremely harmful. Also, never leave a grill unattended and always ensure the grill is a safe distance from siding, decks and other flammable materials.
3. Teach children to play safe. Remind children to fly kites only in open areas where there are not any power lines. Make sure they know to never use metal on a kite, climb utility poles or trees with power lines running through them, play on or near electrical boxes, or enter an electrical substation. Call MidAmerican Energy at 888-427-5632 to retrieve lost balls or toys that accidentally get tossed over a substation fence.
4. Call before you dig. Building a deck to host a Fourth of July celebration? Digging a fire pit? Any time you dig, call your state’s one-call system at least 48 hours prior to the excavation – it’s a free service, and it is the law. In all states, call 811 to reach the One Call Center.
5. Look up and stay away. Make sure you know where overhead power lines are located before using fireworks, balloons or ladders. Contact with power lines can be extremely dangerous. Always carry a ladder in the horizontal position, rather than the vertical position, to avoid brushes with power lines. Also, if you are boating or using long-handled pool skimmers, be alert for power lines that could be above you. If you come across a downed power line, stay away and call MidAmerican Energy at 888-427-5632. Always assume downed power lines are energized.