We use many kinds of energy every day. Sometimes, energy can be dangerous. Here are some ways to stay safe.
Natural Gas Safety We use natural gas to warm our homes, cook our food, and heat our water. Natural gas is burned to make heat. That means there is a fire in the furnace and in the water heater. There is even fire on the stove. Fires can always be dangerous. Do not play near the furnace, water heater, or stove. Never touch them unless an adult is with you. Natural gas can also be dangerous if there is a leak. The gas company puts a special smell in natural gas. It smells really bad, like rotten eggs. That smell lets you know if there is a gas leak. Your parents or your teacher can show you how it smells. If you ever smell natural gas, do not use the phone or turn on the lights. Leave your house right away. Never light a match or start a fire if there is a gas leak.
Petroleum Safety We use petroleum for lots of jobs. Gasoline runs our cars and our lawn mowers. Sometimes we burn oil in our furnace for heat. We burn kerosene in lanterns. All of these fuels can be dangerous. You should never put them in your mouth or breathe their fumes. They also burn easily and can cause fires. Tell an adult if there is a spill and stay away from it. Do not try to clean it up yourself.
Propane Safety Propane is used in gas grills and on farms for heat. Propane is stored in tanks. It can be dangerous. Never touch a propane tank. If you hear propane leaking from a tank, or smell gas, tell an adult and stay away. Companies add that same rotten egg smell to propane. Never light a match near a leaking tank of propane.
Electrical Safety Electricity is amazing. We use it many times every day. It gives us heat and light and runs appliances-our TV’s, computers, refrigerators, hair dryers, and washers. Electricity can be dangerous. It can cause fires and injuries, even death. Here are some rules for using electricity safely:
- Do not pun anything in an outlet except a plug.
- Do not pull on the cord to unplug an appliance-hold the plug and pull.
- Dry your hands before you plug in or unplug a cord.
- If a plug is broken or a cord is cut or worn, do not use it.
- Turn of a light or unplug it before changing a light bulb.
- Never touch the inside of an appliance while it’s plugged in.
- Keep appliances away from water. Do not use a hair dryer near a sink with water in it.
- If there’s a big storm, turn off the TV and computer.
- Do not touch any power lines outside.
- Some power lines are underground. If you’re digging, and find a wire, do not touch it.
- Do not fly a kite or climb a tree near a power line.
Most of the energy we use today comes from coal, oil, and natural gas. They are fossil fuels, and they take millions of years to form. We can’t make more quickly. They are nonrenewable. We need to save energy whenever we can. Here’s the good news: You can help.
Reduce Waste A good way to save energy is by not wasting things. Do not use paper plates or cups all the time. You only use them once and then throw them away. This is wasteful. Write on both sides of your paper, or use a lunch box and thermos instead of paper bags and box drinks. Buy one big bottle of juice instead of six little ones, or maybe one big bag of chips-not ten little ones. Buy things without a lot of packaging. Some candy has more plastic around it than food in it. What a waste! Reducing waste saves energy. It takes energy to make things and to get rid of them.
Reuse Things Try to use things more than once. Wash out plastic sandwich bags and use them again. Use the comics from newspapers to wrap presents. Buy toys at yard sales and you can save energy and money, too. Fix old things whenever you can. Give your old clothes and toys to someone who needs them-do not just throw them away. It’s not too difficult to reuse or re-purpose things.
Recycle You can recycle lots of things-cans, paper, glass, and plastic. It only takes a minute to recycle, and it saves energy! It takes a lot of energy to dig up metal and make a can. It only takes a little energy to make a new can from an old one. And cans can be recycled over and over again. Plastic bottles can be recycled into clothes and rugs. Paper can be recycled into boxes and bags. Do not throw away anything you can recycle, and check with your local government to see if there are any additional rules to follow.
Save Electricity You use a lot of electricity every day. Use only what you need. Do not turn on two lights if you only need one. Remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room. Turn off the TV and video games too. On a sunny day, read by a window. It’s a simple way to save energy. Keep the refrigerator door closed. Know what you want before you open the door. If you’re pouring a drink, do not leave the door open. It takes a lot of energy to cool things. If the air conditioner is on, keep doors and windows closed. Do not go in and out, in and out. If you can, just use a fan and wear light clothes.
Save Heat It takes a lot of energy to heat houses and water. If the heat is on, keep doors and windows closed. Wear warm clothes instead of turning up the heat. At night, use blankets to stay warm.
When you take a bath, use only the water you need. And do not stand in the shower for a long time. Heating water uses energy.
Save Gasoline It takes a lot of energy to operate a car. Walk or ride your bike wherever you can. If you and some of your friends are going to the same place, go together. This is called carpooling. Take the bus instead of asking for a ride to school.
You can make a difference! The things you do every day make a difference. If everyone saves just a little energy, it adds up to a lot.