Shocker: All I want is a safe home this Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day, children sometimes sneak into the kitchen to whip up a surprise breakfast for their parents. It’s always a treat to wake up to the smell of breakfast cooking—eggs, bacon, and, of course, toast. And their smiles more than make up for the disaster zone normally left in the wake.

It’s great to see how excited children can be about cooking something special. When my son is older, I hope he’ll do the same for me. I’ll rest easy knowing I’ve made the kitchen as safe as possible for the experiments (and mountain of dishes) to come.

Every month I check all of our appliance cords. Our toaster was replaced last year—after some early-on motherly tributes, the cord got too close to the toaster and melted. Since an average of 3,600 home fires each year start with toasters and toaster ovens, it’s best not to take chances.

I’ve also installed special outlets in the kitchen and our bathrooms (anywhere near water, really) called ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). If a problem occurs—an appliance overheating or a wayward coffee maker tipping into the sink—power is shut off. A red test button reminds me to check these outlets monthly. They’re my first line of defense.

Even cold appliances pose a safety risk—refrigerators are responsible for about a thousand fires annually. Every three months I have [the kids/my son/daughter] help me take off the small panel at the base of our fridge and vacuum away dust and debris. Not only does this prevent a fire, it makes our fridge more efficient. By getting [the kids/my son/daughter] to help I teach [them/him/her] how to take care of [their/his/her] own kitchen some day.

A third of all home fires start in the kitchen, but every room could hold potential danger. May isn’t only a time to honor mothers—it’s also National Electrical Safety Month. Please take the time this month to check your home for electrical hazards. Spending a few minutes to check for problems can make all the difference when you’re faced with a potentially unsafe situation. To learn more, take a home safety tour at virtualhome.esfi.org. There’s also a wealth of safety knowledge available at www.SafetyatHome.com, and www.SafeElectricity.org.

On Mother’s Day and every day, we want to help you keep your family safe. Sharing electrical safety tips is just another way we’re looking out for you. To learn more about our commitment to safety, visit Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative at www.dakotavalley.com.