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JACKSON, Mich., May 24, 2015  — Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, when thoughts turn to vacations, travel, outdoor activities and do-it-yourself projects. Consumers Energy encouragesMichigan residents to make safety a top priority throughout the summer months.

“We urge everyone to play it safe this summer and put safety first while taking advantage of summer weather and activities,” said Michele Kirkland, Consumers Energy’s vice president of energy operations. “Following simple safety tips can help everyone stay safe while enjoying all the benefits this season has to offer.”

Kirkland offered safety tips for three key areas: while working or playing overhead, working underground and traveling on the road.

Electric Safety

A key safety motto to remember is “look up and look out” for electric power lines, which are not insulated. Always assume a power line is energized and dangerous. Stay away from power lines at all times.

  • Look for and avoid power lines when:
    • Flying kites and model airplanes. If one gets stuck on a power line, do not attempt to remove it as an electric shock can be fatal.
    • Using ladders or motorized equipment to work on siding, gutters, roofs, antennas, satellite dishes, etc. Ladders, poles, pipes and other equipment should be kept at least 25 feet from power lines at all times.
    • Performing recreational tasks like moving sailboats or using equipment to clean pools.
  • Parents should ensure children never climb a utility pole or tree located near a power line.
  • Never attempt to trim or remove trees near power lines. Call Consumers Energy for a free trimming/removal estimate at (800) 582-4238.

Underground Safety

When digging is required, know what’s underground. Damaging underground natural gas and electric lines can result in property damage, serious injury and even death. Any project, from small jobs such as planting shrubs to large ones like installing fencing and underground sprinklers and decks require these safety steps:

  • Call MISS DIG at 8-1-1 at least three days before beginning any digging project. Utilities will send representatives to mark underground utilities. The phone call and service are free.
  • Prior to digging, check to ensure all facilities have been marked by going toresponse.missdig.org and inputting your MISS Dig ticket number.
  • After confirming all utilities are marked, stay more than four feet from the marks, or carefully expose underground lines, by hand using a wooden handled shovel, to determine its location prior to proceeding with the rest of your excavation.
  • If a contractor is being used to perform work, make sure MISS DIG has been contacted before work begins.

Roadside Safety

Road and utility work zones are popping up across the state, and drivers are reminded to “slow down and go around” in these areas. Working in and around roadways is often required by employees who provide electric, gas and telecommunications services, as well as those in the waste hauling and construction trades.

Drivers are urged to follow these tips to keep roadside workers safe:

  • Respect all roadside construction zones. When you see orange cones or barrels and/or flashing lights on or near a roadway, anticipate that workers will be there as well. Reduce your speed and follow construction signage directions.
  • Focus on the construction zone and reduce distractions. Do not use cell phones. Turn down radios if in use and avoid eating while driving through these reduced-speed areas.
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