The kitchen is often the heart of the home, where we cook for ourselves, our families and our friends. Lots of wonderful childhood memories are tied to the kitchen and the tastes and scents of favorite dishes.

But kitchens are also full of potential hazards, electrical and otherwise. Like bathrooms, there is the possibility in a kitchen for water and electricity to meet with deadly consequences. Danger from fire, sharp objects such as knives, and hazardous chemicals also require preventive measures.

Here are some tips to keep your family safe in the kitchen.

Electrical safety

  • Make sure the outlets in your kitchen are outfitted with GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters), which are designed to trip a fast-acting circuit breaker if there is a short or potential for a person to become a path to the ground, resulting in electric shock.
  • Keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces, and make sure there is plenty of space around electrical outlets.
  • Unplug toasters, toaster ovens, mixers, coffeemakers and other countertop appliances when not in use.
  • If you experience even a slight shock from an appliance, immediately turn off the circuit breaker to that appliance, then unplug it and don’t use it again until it has been checked by a certified electrician.
  • Keep appliances well away from the sink. The last thing you want is for something to get wet or get knocked into a sink full of water.

Fire safety

  • Keep your oven, stovetop, toaster, coffeemakers and other appliances clean to prevent grease and other types of fires.
  • Keep combustibles — including includes napkins, paper towels, takeout containers, pizza boxes, potholders and similar items — away from your stovetop, toaster and other appliances that heat up.
  • Keep an up-to-date fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it. Never use water to try to put out an electrical fire.
  • Make sure there is enough room behind your refrigerator (and deep freezer, if you have one) for air to circulate, and vacuum the coils every three months to prevent dust buildup that can lead to overheating and possible fire.

Other safety tips

  • Keep knives and other sharp objects in blocks or drawers.
  • If you have children or pets, make sure knives are not accessible to little hands. Secure household cleaners, and keep the number for poison control posted on your refrigerator just in case it’s needed.

Adhering to these safety tips will keep your kitchen a place of happy memories throughout the holiday season.

Ah, the kitchen. It’s undeniably one of the most-loved rooms in our homes. It’s where we gather with family and friends for our favorite meals and memories. But like most of us, you probably aren’t thinking about saving energy when you’re planning that perfect dish. Here are four ways you can save energy in the kitchen with minimal effort:

When possible, cook with smaller appliances. Using smaller kitchen appliances like slow cookers, toaster ovens and convection ovens is more energy efficient than using your large stove or oven. According to the Department of Energy, a toaster or convection oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a full-sized oven.

Unplug appliances that draw phantom energy load. Halloween may be over, but it’s possible you have energy vampires — appliances like coffee makers, microwaves and toaster ovens that draw energy even when they’re not in use — in your kitchen. The Department of Energy has estimated that one home’s energy vampires left plugged in year-round can add up to $100-$200 in wasted energy costs. Unplug them when they’re not in use, or, better yet, use a power strip for convenient control.

Help large appliances work less. There are small ways you can help your larger kitchen appliances run more efficiently. For example, keep range-top burners clean from spills and fallen foods so they’ll reflect heat better. When it’s time to put leftovers in the refrigerator, make sure the food is covered. And allow it to cool down first so the fridge doesn’t have to work harder to cool warm food.

Use your dishwasher efficiently. Only run full loads, and avoid using the “rinse hold” function on your machine for just a few dirty dishes; it uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water with each use. You can also save energy by letting your dishes air dry. If your dishwasher doesn’t have an automatic air-dry switch, simply turn the dishwasher off after the final rinse and prop the door open so the dishes will dry faster.

Bonus tip: The best way to save energy is to not use it. Try a tasty, no-bake dessert recipe. Your sweet tooth (and energy bill!) will thank you.

By slightly adjusting a few of your habits in the kitchen, you’ll be well on your way to energy savings. Contact us to learn about additional ways you can save energy and money at home.

Nashville, TENN. – More than 130 employees from 15 electric co-ops in Tennessee are assisting with power restoration efforts after Hurricane Zeta left more than 2.6 million without power in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas. Zeta came ashore Wednesday as a strong Category 2 hurricane before bringing heavy rains and winds across the southeast.

“Unfortunately, this was not our first hurricane this year,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. Crews from Tennessee also assisted following Hurricanes Laura and Sally earlier this fall. “Those who volunteer know what they are signing up for – long days and difficult conditions – but they still want to go. Their desire to assist others in need is inspiring, and we ask all Tennesseans to remember them in your thoughts and prayers while they are away.”

Statewide trade associations like the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association coordinate mutual aid assistance for co-ops in their respective states. When a state determines that it needs assistance, requests are made to surrounding states. The statewide organizations in those states work with their local co-ops to organize crews and make arrangements for lodging and food. Working out details ahead of time allows crews to respond quickly when a need arises.

Traveling to Georgia are

  • eight lineworkers from Fayetteville Public Utilities assisting Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation in Jasper
  • nine lineworkers from Holston Electric Cooperative in Rogersville assisting Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation in Jasper
  • five lineworkers from Plateau Electric Cooperative in Onieda assisting Habersham Electric Membership Corporation in Clarkesville
  • 20 lineworkers from Middle Tennessee Electric in Murfreesboro assisting Cobb Electric Membership Corporation in Marietta
  • six lineworkers from Duck River Electric Membership Corporation in Shelbyville assisting North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation in Dalton
  • six lineworkers from Ft. Loudoun Electric Cooperative in Vonore assisting Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation in Blue Ridge
  • six lineworkers from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative in South Pittsburg assisting Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation in Blue Ridge
  • 12 lineworkers from Volunteer Energy Cooperative in Dacatur assisting Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation in Jasper
  • nine lineworkers from Mountain Electric Cooperative in Mountain City assisting Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation in Young Harris

Traveling to Alabama are

  • 10 lineworkers from Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in Somerville assisting Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative in Talladega
  • five lineworkers from Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative in Centerville assisting Southern Pine Electric Cooperative in Brewton
  • 19 lineworkers from Cumberland  Electric Membership Cooperative in Clarksville assisting Pioneer Electric Cooperative in Greenville
  • five lineworkers from Pickwick Electric Cooperative assisting Southern Pine Electric Cooperative in Brewton
  • nine lineworkers from Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative in Cookeville assisting Black Warrior Electric Membership Corporation in Demopolis

Traveling to North Carolina are

  • nine lineworkers from Powell Valley Electric Cooperative in New Tazewell assisting Energy United in Statesville

Nashville, TENN. – More than 400 electric co-op employees participated in the 2020 Tennessee Electric Cooperative Day of Service on Thursday, Oct. 15. Twenty-six individual service projects were completed across the state with 422 employees from 12 electric co-ops volunteering more than 800 hours in service to their local communities. This year’s projects included food and clothing drives, landscaping and various efforts to support healthcare providers and educators.

“Electric co-ops serve their communities every day by keeping the lights on, but the Day of Service takes it a step further,” says Trent Scott, TECA’s vice president of corporate strategy and organizer of the event. “It has been a difficult year, and co-op employees truly care about the places that they live and work. Their compassion was demonstrated through the innovative projects completed this year.”

Sponsors for the 2020 Day of Service were Bass, Berry and Sims, Silicon Ranch, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, CT Consultants, Magellan Advisors, HomeServe and The Tennessee Magazine.

In the four-year history of the Day of Service event, 1,458 employees have volunteered more than 3,900 hours to complete 101 individual projects in co-op communities across the state.

Co-ops participating in the 2020 Day of Service and the projects they completed were:

  • Chickasaw Electric Cooperative – assisted with the Fayette Cares Food and Toy Drive
  • Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation – organized a virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Fayetteville Public Utilities – delivered gift bags to residents in local assisted living and nursing facilities
  • Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative – organized a food drive for local charities
  • Gibson Electric Membership Corporation – organized a school supply drive for Trimble Elementary School in Dyer County
  • Holston Electric Cooperative – delivered Meals on Wheels for residents in Hawkins County
  • Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative – organized food drives in Hohenwald, Linden, Waverly and Erin and constructed and installed a “Blessing Box” at the co-op’s Centerville office
  • Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation – provided lunch for teachers in Rockvale, landscaping for a nonprofit in Murfreesboro, and assistance to a food bank in Smyrna
  • Pickwick Electric Cooperative – assisted the Jesus Cares Thrift Store and packed and delivered meals for a local backpack program
  • Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association – provided lunch to healthcare workers in the COVID-19 and burn units at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative – provided lunch for health departments in Marion, Grundy, Sequatchie and Bledsoe counties
  • Volunteer Energy Cooperative – donated food to food banks and a back pack program serving Polk, Meigs, Hamilton, Monterey and White counties

In the photo: Volunteer Energy Cooperative employees donated food to nonprofits serving local communities