SMECO newsletter

volume 66 - issue 7 - July 2016

Teach children to stay safe around power lines

Children are out of school and it's time for some summer fun for many. Warm weather brings a lot of opportunities for children to play outside and SMECO wants everyone to stay safe.

father and son fly kite.

Electricity always tries to find the easiest path to ground. The best way to stay safe around overhead power lines is to never become that easiest path. Help your children understand these safety tips to keep themselves and their friends safe in trees:

• Never climb in or play in trees that are growing next to power lines.

• Never touch a power line with a hand or with any other object, whether the line is in a tree or on the ground.

• Don't build a tree house, fort, or anything else in a tree that is next to power lines.

• Children should tell an adult if they see trees growing close to or touching power lines.

• If children see a power line that has fallen into a tree or onto the ground, they should stay away and tell an adult immediately.

• Don't climb the fence around an electrical substation. If your child loses a ball or a pet gets inside the fence, they should tell an adult who can contact SMECO.

• Keep balloons, kites, fishing lines, and aluminum ladders away from overhead power lines. Any of these items may conduct electricity and can bring that electricity through the person holding the object into the ground.

• Keep electrical appliances away from water.

• Do not sit on or play around the electrical transformer boxes found in many neighborhoods.

Adults should be careful, too!

Overhead power lines carry high voltages and maintain only a coating of insulation to protect them from weathering. If your body or anything you are touching comes in contact with the power line, the results could be fatal. Electricity will course through your equipment and you, and that current can heat up and burn the tissue inside the body. If you become the easiest path to ground, the results could be deadly.

Some common things to avoid:

• Using equipment close to a power line. If you are using farm equipment or other machinery, including metal ladders, and any part of it comes in contact with an overhead line, the equipment and you will become the easiest path to ground.

• Cutting down a tree that is in contact with a line. If a tree is in contact with an overhead power line and you attempt to remove the tree, you can become the easiest path to the ground.