Spring is the time to fly a kite, plant a tree and fix up the house, but each of those projects requires that we begin by focusing on electric and natural gas safety.
Throughout the year, Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois encourage the safe use of electricity and natural gas. The following tips will help keep you safe this spring.
• Never use kites that have metal, wire or tinsel components. Do not fly kites in the vicinity of overhead electrical wires or when there is a threat of thunderstorms.
• Fly kites in open places far away from power lines and trees.
• If your kite gets caught in a power line, do not try to retrieve it.
• Never fly kites in stormy weather and when there is a threat of storms. Wet kite strings can conduct electricity from power lines and lightning.
• When climbing a tree, choose a tree that is well away from power lines. Always check to make sure there are no power lines hidden among the limbs.
• Look up when you are outdoors. Know the location of all overhead utility lines and keep ladders and pole pruners away from these lines.
• Avoid planting trees in locations that will cause problems with power lines once the trees are full grown.
• Improve safety is by using ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for all outdoor outlets. While you are at it, GFCIs also belong in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, garage and other locations where electrical devices could come into contact with water. A GFCI is designed to turn the power off before a deadly electrical shock can occur. If you do not yet have GFCIs, contact an electrician to discuss GFCIs and arrange for installation. If all older homes had GFCIs, it is estimated that 70 percent of residential electrocutions would be prevented each year.
• Before digging in your yard or planting trees, call the service that marks the location of underground utilities in your area. This will help you make that sure you do not strike underground power lines or natural gas pipes. In Missouri, this service is called the Missouri One Call System, and it can be reached by calling 1-800-DIG-RITE (1-800-344-7483), or simply 811. In Illinois, the service is JULIE (Joint Utility Location Information for Excavators), also reached by dialing 811.
• For additional safety information, visit Ameren’s website, www.Ameren.com/safety, and the Safe Electricity Web site, www.safeelectricity.org.
Contacts: Missouri, Mike Cleary, 314-554-2182; Illinois, Leigh Morris, 1-217-535-5228
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Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than a century, and our electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. We serve 1.2 million electric and 126,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. Our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Our service area covers 57 counties and 500 towns, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit AmerenMissouri.com.
Ameren Illinois has been providing energy delivery service for more than a century. We deliver energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois, and our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Our service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com.