Before Heading Outdoors This Spring, Keep Safety First with Tips from CPU

Prevent accidents and injuries by avoiding common outdoor hazards

CLARKSDALE - Blooming azaleas, budding trees and buzzing bees — from the looks of it, spring has arrived! As residents head outdoors to enjoy the scenery, they should also take measures to avoid hazards associated with yardwork, home renovations and other seasonal activities by following safety tips from Clarksdale Public Utilities.

“Communicating about safety is always a priority for CPU and can pay off by helping our customers prevent accidents and injuries,” said Curtis D. Boschert, CPU general manager. “By taking just a few moments to review these safety tips, our customers will be better prepared to identify and avoid potential hazards in their homes and yards this spring.”

When working outside, stay at least 10 feet from power lines. Even if you don’t come in contact with a power line, electricity can arc to nearby objects and people, causing serious and even fatal injuries.

Keeping vegetation away from power lines is a good strategy to prevent power outages, especially during the high-wind storm season. But customers are advised never to trim or climb trees near power lines and instead hire a licensed tree service.

Here are additional safety tips to follow 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.
  • 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.
  • Always check the condition of cords and power tools before use. Repair or replace worn or damaged cords and tools.
  • Electricity + water = danger. If it’s raining or the ground is wet, don’t use electric power or yard tools. Never use electrical appliances or touch circuit breakers or fuses when you’re wet or standing in water. Keep electric equipment at least 10 feet from wet areas.
  • 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.
  • 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 (, a public awareness program of the Energy Education Council, for more information about staying safe around power lines.

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 125 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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