At Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative, we take seriously our duty to provide reliable electricity to our members in the safest, most affordable manner possible. Though we work hard to fulfill that promise year-round, perhaps there is no better time to reiterate our commitment than during National Electrical Safety Month.
Over these next few weeks, as our lineworkers and behind-the-scenes staff go about their vital work as steadfastly as ever, we ask you, our members, to consider your role as our partners in ensuring your comfort and safety. Amid the drumbeat of daily routines, balancing work and family, we all can sometimes grow complacent about seemingly innocuous habits or practices that could bear tragic consequences.
One critically important example of this during swimming and boating season involves the risk of electric shock drowning. Docks and marinas carry electricity sources, which faulty wiring or damaged cords can release into water invisibly. As few as 10 milliamps can cause paralysis and drowning. That is one-fiftieth the amount used by a 60-watt lightbulb. You should not swim near a dock or marina unless you know its wiring is in good repair. You should also never swim near a boat while it’s running.
If you see an electric shock drowning taking place, never enter the water. You could become a victim, too. Turn the power off if possible, call 911 and throw a life preserver to the victim or reach out with a fiberglass hook to help the victim get out of the water.
We recommend hiring a licensed electrician to inspect home pools, spas and hot tubs and make any repairs or upgrades necessary to keep the wiring up to date and safe.
Here are a few additional tips for enjoying a day at the pool without risking your well-being or anyone else’s:
- Outdoor electrical outlets (including pools and spas) should be covered and kept dry when not in use.
- Use a ground-fault circuit interrupter for electrical devices used outdoors. Portable GFCIs are available for $12–$30 and don’t require tools for installation.
- Make sure all electrical equipment used for swimming pools, including cleaning equipment, is grounded and working properly. If you notice pool lights flickering, stay out of the water until a licensed electrician has resolved the issue.
- Electrical devices and cords should be kept at least 10 feet away from pools and spas. Whenever possible, use battery-powered devices outdoors instead.
- Never handle electrical devices while you are wet, either from swimming or perspiration.
- Make sure there are no power lines over a swimming pool, and never swim during a thunderstorm. Thunder means lightning is close enough to put you at risk of electrocution.
Our intent in relaying this information is not to frighten but to illustrate how we all must keep a watchful eye toward safety whenever and wherever electricity is present, and remain especially vigilant in settings where its presence may not be obvious.