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“I think what happens is we get in a hurry, and we don’t stop to think about things when we’re at home. We think about safety out on the road, and we think about safety at work, but at home we’re often very lax about it.”

One of the dangers he spoke about was the use of extension cords.

Life saving measures were provided at the scene, during hospital transport and at the hospital. However, the girl was pronounced dead at Nor Lea Hospital a short while later.

In addition to checking for frayed and nicked cords, Reeves said, make sure the extension cord is not covered, overloaded and used as permanent wiring. He also warns any electrical device plugged into the wall should never be around water.

“There is a lot of safety built into these cords and these chargers,” he said. “but anytime you have water anywhere near these devices, you’re putting yourself at risk. So it’s best to stay away from charging phones or anything like that in the bathroom.”

Lynn Simmons, spokeswoman for South Plains Electric Cooperative, said to remember is that electricity and water do not mix.

“Whether you have wet hands and are plugging something in,” Simmons said, “or turning a light switch on, that is never a good idea. And definitely anything that is plugged into a wall should be kept away from sinks, tubs, swimming pools, any mud puddles, any source of water. Because if that device being plugged in comes in contact with that water it will create that circuit for that electricity, and then that’s where the danger lies whether it’s just a shock or a fatality it can be anywhere in between there.”

Reeves said a rule of thumb in his own household is to steer clear of using appliances in the bathroom.

“With kids and all of these electrical devices,” Simmons said, “the parents just need to stop, take a moment, explain to kids about plugging and unplugging, and the idea of keeping devices away from water. Whether it’s got a good cord or a bad cord, that still could’ve been a really bad situation even if the power cord had been good, if (Coe) would’ve dropped that phone into the tub with her. It could’ve had the same bad outcome. Parents just need to remember to take time to educate their kids on that.”

In the case of Madison Coe,
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the cause of death was confirmed as electrocution, and according to officials with the Lovington Police Department, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission were assisting them with the investigation.

According to the agency’s website, the most recent records have statistics on electrocutions from 2002 through 2009: About 88 consumer product associated electrocutions involving individuals ages 1 through 19 years old.

In addition to those statistics, the SPEC website states each year there are about 300 electrocutions; 12,000 shock and burn injuries and 150,000 fires.

Those numbers are electricity related cases that occurred within homes, as another danger lies in overloading outlets.

Looking at extension cords and surge protectors as pieces of equipment, Simmons said, it is important to see if the cord’s capacity fits the job.

While it may be OK to plug a lamp into a smaller cord, Reeves said, it is not a good idea to plug heavier equipment into the cord, and overloading extension cords or surge protectors can cause the wiring to melt.

“You want to be really careful with that,” she said. “A lot of people use surge protectors, and I think they think they’re safe because they’re called a “surge protector,” but you need to be very careful not plugging too much into one outlet. (If something should go wrong) hopefully your system will trip a breaker and prevent any kind of problems, but you can start fires, you can be injured by a shock or worse if you’re not careful around outlets and plugging too many items into a single outlet.”

The website states GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, automatically shuts off power to the outlet to protect from fires or users from shock. And they should be installed in outlets near water sources such as outdoor areas, garages, laundry room, kitchens and bathrooms.

If your home is in need of updated or additional outlets, Reeves said, contact a licensed electrician.

“If possible,” he said, “if you need some sort of change in your home,
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have an electrician come in and put another outlet in your home where you need it.”