Accidentally contacting a power line can be dangerous and in some cases, even deadly. WIN Energy REMC wants to help our members stay safe around power lines.
Keep a safe distance
Whether you are playing outdoors with your children or working on landscaping projects, keep a safe distance from power lines and other equipment your co-op uses to get electricity to your home.
Always remember to:
- Stay away from power lines, meters, transformers and electrical boxes.
- Don’t climb trees near power lines.
- Never fly kites, remote control airplanes or balloons near power lines.
- If you get something stuck in a power line, call WIN Energy REMC to get it.
- Keep a safe distance from overhead power lines when working with ladders or installing objects such as antennas.
- Never touch or go near a downed power line.
- Don’t touch anything that may be touching a downed wire, such as a car.
- Keep children and pets away.
Power Line Hazards and Cars
If a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle. This is the safest place to stay. Warn people not to touch the car or the line. Call or ask someone to call the local cooperative and emergency services.
The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches on fire. Open the door. Do not step out of the car. You may receive a shock. Instead, jump free of the car so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground. Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 50 feet away, with both feet on the ground.
As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 or call your electric utility company.
Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground.
Electrical Safety and Generators
Preventing Electrocutions Associated with Portable Generators Plugged Into Household Circuits
When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source such as a portable generator. If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in installation and start-up activities. The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.
When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the "off" position prior to starting the generator. This will prevent power lines from being inadvertently energized by backfeed electrical energy from the generators, and help protect utility line workers or other repair workers or people in neighboring buildings from possible electrocution. If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid, and energize power lines or electrical systems in other buildings to at or near their original voltage without the knowledge of utility or other workers.
Effects of Backfeed
The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk for electrical energy workers. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths. Following the safety guidelines below can reduce this risk.
Other Generator Hazards
Generator use is also a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Generators should only be used in well ventilated areas.
Call Before You Dig!
Electric power lines are often buried underground. Please call Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service (IUPPS) at (800)382-5544 or 811 at least two working days before the start of the actual excavation. It is the member's responsibility to notify IUPPS of any digging, whether it is a major excavation project or a simple project such as installing a fence or mailbox. If IUPPS is not notified and damage is done to the underground lines, it will be the member's responsibility to pay for the cost of the repairs. A simple call to IUPPS could save you costly damages and possibly even your life. For more information visit the IUPPS website.
When transporting large equipment or using ladders around power lines always keep at least 10 feet away from power lines. Contact with power lines can cause serious injury or even death.
Contact with electrical wires can be very serious. At all times consider a downed power line energized and stay away from it. If a power line has fallen on your vehicle do not leave the vehicle until assurance has been made that the power line has been de-energized. Do not touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed power line.
Be on the lookout for overloaded, worn or damaged cords. Do not cover cords with carpets, furniture, or appliances. Keep cords out of the reach of children.
Never place a space heater near furniture or drapes. And only use space heaters equipped with an automatic shutoff in case they tip over.
Many electrical fires can be traced to overheated circuits. Too many cords used improperly overload a circuit, causing it to overheat. Avoid using multi-armed plugs and only use extension cords as temporary solutions.
Children should use caution when playing outside, especially after a storm. Power lines can be down and should always be considered energized. Kites should be flown in wide open areas, far away from overhead power lines. If the wind blows a kite into a power line the electricity can travel down the string of the kite and cause injury or death. Never climb a tree that has a power line going through it. Before climbing always check to be sure the tree is clear of power lines.
Many accidents occur while farming or irrigating. Be sure that power lines are visible and keep large farm equipment including irrigation systems at least 10 feet away from the lines. If farming equipment comes in contact with a power line remember to stay on the equipment and wait for line crews to de-energize the lines.
For more information on electrical safety visit http://www.safeelectricity.org/