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Make Sure Safety and Spring Chores Go Hand in Hand

CPU shares tips to protect you and your family from outdoor hazards

CLARKSDALE - As temperatures warm up and yards come to life again, Clarksdale residents are spending more time outside. It’s especially noticeable this year since many residents homebound because of the COVID-19 crisis are getting a head start on spring cleaning.

Clarksdale Public Utilities reminds customers that taking precautions to stay healthy, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, also should include avoiding hazards associated with yardwork and other outdoor activities.

“We always see an increase in injuries and accidents during springtime when people start working in their yards and on their homes,” said CPU General Manager Curtis D. Boschert. “The COVID-19 threat is another reason we should be especially vigilant about health and safety this spring. We are reminding customers to play it safe by taking precautions to protect themselves and their families.”

Staying away from power lines is the first rule of outdoor safety. Customers are advised to stay at least 10 feet from power lines. Even if they don’t come in contact with a power line, electricity can arc to nearby objects and people, causing grave and even fatal injuries.

It’s also wise to keep vegetation away from power lines. By proactively trimming trees and large bushes, you can prevent unnecessary power outages during the high-wind storm season. Never trim or climb trees near power lines — leave that to the professionals.

CPU reminds customers to follow these safety practices when working outdoors this spring:

  • Call 811 before you dig: But before you start digging, know the hazards. Call 811 at least three days before installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree or any other digging activity to have professional locators mark utility-owned underground lines.
  • Be careful when working on or around your roof. That includes installing or cleaning gutters, installing rooftop antennas and satellite dishes, or making repairs. Never use water or blower extensions to clean gutters near electric lines. Play it safe and contact a professional maintenance contractor.
  • Check outdoor outlets. During rainy winter months, moisture can trickle into uncovered outlets. Be sure to check outside outlets for signs of damage and make sure they’re covered properly year-round.
  • Make sure your fire extinguisher is not expired. Fire extinguishers lose their charge over time. Inspect your fire extinguisher to make sure it can put out an electrical fire and that it hasn’t lost its charge.
  • Practice ladder safety. Always wear non-skid shoes and ensure that the ladder is stabilized on level ground. It’s best to have a partner hold the ladder for you, but if you must use a ladder alone, always let someone know first.
  • Read all cleaning product safety labels. Safety warnings about ventilation, burns and other chemical hazards are vitally important. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia creates a potentially fatal toxic gas.

Customers may visit the website of Safe Electricity (https://safeelectricity.org), a public awareness program of the Energy Education Council, for more information about staying safe around power lines.

For guidance related to reducing exposure to COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Clarksdale Public Utilities is a municipally owned utility serving approximately 6,500 homes and businesses in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Its mission is to safely provide sustainable electric, water and wastewater services in a reliable and courteous manner by well-trained team members, committed to top quality, efficient operations, competitive rates and the vitality of the community.

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For more than 120 years, Clarksdale Public Utilities has supplied utility services that support our community’s growth, vibrance and quality of life. But we are more than a provider of reliable and affordable electric, water and wastewater services — we are your family, friends and neighbors. We are people who care. We are CPU.

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