May is National Electrical Safety Month, and agencies across the country are doling out tips which aim to keep citizens safe from common hazards associated with electrical lines. The Michigan-based Consumers Energy wants to make sure that adults and kids out playing this summer are protected from harm, while the Energy Education Council’s Safe Electricity program wants people working near power lines to stay safe. We’d like to relate how you can ensure safety in each regard.
If your children go outside to play, make sure that they know climbing a utility pole is never permissible. Not only does drawing near to power lines pose a shock hazard, but the child could fall and sustain a serious injury that way. Similarly, kids should be warned not to climb a tree that’s even in the vicinity of power lines.
To cut down on that latter threat, it’s up to you to make sure you don’t plant trees near power lines. Those trees will grow quickly after just a couple years, and the situation could prove dangerous if the branches begin to entangle the power lines. Should you move into a home with such a tree, or a tree that you planted still shoots up around electrical lines despite your best efforts, don’t conduct branch cutting work yourself. Call a local agency that’s qualified to handle such a job.
A typical summer activity that could prove hazardous when power lines are around is flying a kite. Make sure your children never participate in this activity anywhere that power lines are in the vicinity, and if somehow a kite does get stuck on the line, the child should move away at once. You shouldn’t attempt to retrieve the kite without a professional, as the shock which could take place can prove fatal.
If you do have to conduct some type of work around your home and power lines are nearby, it’s imperative that you take certain precautions. Things like ladders and longer pruning shears need to be kept a safe distance away from the lines; the extended reach of the tools could makes it far easier to contact power lines, especially when the wind is blowing at high speeds.
The proper precautions become particularly important if you have to do any work on your roof. Think twice about using a blower or water extension around power lines if you’re cleaning the gutters, as this could create a potential shock hazard.
Keep in mind that you don’t always have to even touch a power line to suffer a shock. Thanks to the arcing phenomenon, it’s possible to be electrocuted within ten feet of the lines. Thus, you might just consider hiring a professional to do roof work if power lines are that close to your home.