In today's world, electric power lines are part of every home and neighborhood. Some are underground and some are high above us. After applying rigid safety construction standards, these electric lines can still present a dangerous and deadly threat. Each year Sheffield Utilities presents an animated safety program to schools and special groups in its service territory. This program demonstrates the more common causes of death and injury associated with power lines and what safety precautions should be applied.
The following are ten basic safety tips to help prevent you from coming in contact with high voltage power lines.
- LOOK UP when handling long objects. Bare conductors can be as low as 16 feet above you. If you are moving irrigation pipes, TV antennas or similar objects, avoid contact with power lines by looking above you.
- LOOK UP when you are on roofs, haystacks, in trees or atop other structures that could put you within reach of power lines.
- DON'T TOUCH any wires or cables lying on the ground. Always assume a downed power line or cable is hot, keep others away and report immediately to your cooperative or power supplier.
- CALL BEFORE YOU DIG in areas where there might be underground utilities. Locates are free and could save your life or the expense of costly repair work. Call two working days Before You Dig (Dial 811).
- STAY INSIDE a vehicle that is in contact with downed power lines. Remain inside and wait for help. If the threat of fire exists, jump out and away from the vehicle, so that no part of your body touches the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
- KEEP SMALL APPLIANCES away from water. Water is the best conductor of electricity and could initiate contact between you and the power source.
- ELECTRICAL CORDS and extensions are all around the home and the work place. Be on the look out for overloaded, worn or damaged cords. Don't cover cords with carpets, furniture or appliances. Approximately 3,000 injuries and 3,200 fires are associated with electric extension cords annually.
- GROUND FAULT INTERRUPTERS should be placed on all outside, bathroom, kitchen, basement and crawl space receptacles. More than two-thirds of all residential electrocutions could be prevented with GFI receptacles.
- TODDLERS & ELECTRICITY don't mix. Help protect your child from electrical shock by placing protective covers on all unused outlets within the child's reach. Install lock devices on plugs so a child can't pull them out. Don't run appliance cords and extension cords where children or pets can walk on or trip over them.
- OBEY WARNING SIGNS on electrical installations such as substation fences and enclosures. "Danger - High Voltage" means exactly what it says. Make sure your children understand the facts.