LIVE – LAUGH – FARM…and help celebrate National Farm Safety & Health Week, September 15-21, 2014!

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As we think about farmers a quote comes to mind, “Farming: it’s in our Jeans”*. The local farmer usually comes from generations of farmers, and they are vital to the growth of this country. Who doesn’t love the fresh taste of sweet corn, blueberries and apple pie! Therefore, in honor of National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 15-21, Grand Haven Board of Light & Power offers safety tips for farm workers across Northwest Ottawa County Michigan.

One of the biggest hazards for farmers is posed by power lines. Typically, power lines over streets and rural areas have a minimal clearance of 18 feet. To stay safe around overhead power lines, Grand Haven Board of Light & Power urges farm operators and workers to:

  • Use a spotter when operating large machinery…and for underground lines …always call MISS DIG before you DIG!

Avoiding Electrical Dangers during Harvest Season

  • After working in a field on a neighbor’s farm, Jim Flach parked his equipment and stepped out of the vehicle. Flach received a severe electric shock that ultimately resulted in his death a few months later. His equipment was unknowingly touching an overhead power line, and he became a path to ground for an electrical current as he set his foot to the ground. Grand Haven BLP urges farmers and agricultural workers to have a safe harvest season by taking precautions around power lines.**
  • The rush to harvest can result in farmers working long days with little sleep. Make sure you note the location of power lines before you start each day. Before working in a field or around shops or grain bins, always take the time to note the location of power lines, so that you can make sure to remain a safe distance from them.

Farming is one of the most dangerous professions in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Machinery and vehicles help on the job but also contribute to many farming accidents. Electricity is essential to the operation of a farm but, like so many other tools, can be dangerous. Grand Haven Board of Light & Power encourages farmers to protect themselves from the hazards of electricity and to share electrical safety information with family and workers to help keep them safe this harvest season. Look Up and Look Out to keep your harvest season safe and bountiful!

**Courtesy of Safe Electricity, a program of the Energy Education Council.

* Watch Us Grow an Illinois Farm Family

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Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and floo

Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding can leave more than damage in their wake— they can leave hidden dangers as well. Grand Haven Board of Light & Power advises everyone to be mindful of the electrical hazards that storms and flooding can cause.
Stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Treat all downed or hanging power lines as if they are energized and dangerous. Lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live.
If you are cleaning up, do not use electric yard tools if it is raining, the ground is wet, or you are standing in water. Keep all electric tools and equipment at least ten feet away from wet surfaces.
If you are driving and come upon a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, warn others to stay away, and contact emergency personnel or the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power. Never drive over a downed line. A downed line causes other things around it to become potentially hazardous. Should you experience a downed power line, please contact our office between 7:30 AM and 5:00 PM at 616-846-6250. If an emergency occurs after our regular business hours, please call our emergency line at 616-842-2241.
Photo is of North Shore Drive Storm Damage 9/4/14
http://ow.ly/i/6MOdJ

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Be Fire Prevention Smart- Don’t get burned

With fall’s approach and the shift to inside activities, many of us will begin watching our favorite fall TV shows. Have you ever watched the Living Alaska television series? HGTV Television, Scripps Networks LLC. In each program, Living Alaska showcases a couple who is in search of a home in Alaska, anywhere from Juneau to Anchorage and the Kodiak Islands to Halibut Cove. The program gives you a beautiful glimpse of Alaska’s endless treasurers. Some of the homes are so remote they don’t even have running water or electricity, just a generator. Imagine how difficult it would be to not be able to run those kitchen appliances and electronics we use every day! On the opposite end of the spectrum, electricity contains the potential to destroy homes and lives if wiring is not properly installed and maintained. Electrical fires are more destructive than any other type of fire and are twice as deadly. The Grand Haven Board of Light & Power has the following tips to help you keep your electrical systems safe this upcoming cold weather season.

Electrical failure/malfunction is a leading cause of home fires. Learn more about electrical fire safety at http://bit.ly/1lHLT0H

Facts about home electrical fires

fire in window of home

  • U.S. fire departments respond each year to an estimated 25,900 home electrical fires. These fires cause an estimated 280 deaths, 1,125 injuries and $1.1 billion in property loss.
  • Home electrical fires result in greater dollar loss per fire than non-electrical fires.
  • In 79 percent of home electrical fires, the fire spreads beyond the object where the fire starts.
  • Most home electrical fires involve electrical distribution, lighting or power transfer equipment.
  • Thirty-nine percent of home electrical fires involve outlets and receptacles, electrical branch circuits (for example, interior house wiring), and other electrical wiring.                                                                                                    (Electrical Fire Facts Resource: U.S. Fire Administration http://1.usa.gov/1BblonF )

Visit our Grand Haven Board of Light & Power booth during Fire Prevention Week, October 5-11, at local fire stations. We will have Halloween Safety Bags for the kids and other special treats for all!