For all the wonderful things electricity does for us, it can be unforgiving if not treated with respect — all the time. Electricity is energy. Like most forms of energy, it’s powerful. As essential as electricity is to our daily lives, when it is misused or the system that delivers it to our homes is ignored, electricity can be deadly or cause serious injury.
One very important thing to remember when you are outdoors: Please watch out for power lines!
Overhead power lines aren’t insulated like the power cords on your home appliances. The high voltage carried on power lines and their constant exposure to the elements make it practically impossible for them to be covered. And, air really is the best insulator.
That’s why power lines generally are placed high over our heads out of our way. They usually don’t interfere with normal everyday activities. But on that day you decide to work on your house or yard or play outdoors in a way that puts you in unusual places you need to be aware of where those lines are so that you don’t get tangled up in them.
Underground power lines are much easier to forget since they are out of sight. However, you need to be aware of when you are performing outdoor activities such as planting shrubs or trees or putting in a pool.
Here are a few precautions to keep you and your family safe when working or playing around power lines:
- Watch where you take your ladders. Always carry them parallel to the ground to decrease the risk of contact with the power lines and raise them carefully. Avoid metal ladders.
- Don’t raise a television antenna or any other antenna near a power line.
- Don’t climb trees that have power lines running through or even near their branches. Contact with one of these lines carrying 7,200 volts or more can kill or seriously injure. In addition, a person making contact will usually fall from the tree and could sustain additional injuries.
- Don’t fly kites anywhere near power lines. Kite string that crosses a power line, especially if the string is wet, can carry electric current down to the unfortunate person at the end of the string.
- If you have a pool in your backyard, be careful when you’re cleaning it so the long cleaning poles don’t touch the service line running to your home.
- If you notice a downed power line near your home, stay away from it. Even though a line may be broken, it can still be carrying electrical current which could kill you. Contact the REMC as soon as you can day or night and the co-op will send a crew out to repair the problem immediately.
Electric power is a great asset to our lives. We couldn’t watch TV, work on the computer, turn on a lightbulb and so much more without it. But the bottom line on power lines is: Be careful and watch out for them.