SMECO newsletter

volume 67 - issue 7 - July 2017

Help children stay safe around power lines

Environmental Information for SMECO's SOS

It’s time for fun in the sun as children are out of school and we are in the thick of summer. Warm weather brings a lot of children outside to play and SMECO wants everyone to stay safe.

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:

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

• Never climb power poles or transmission towers.

• 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 on its way to 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 outside, 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 things to remember:

• 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. If you are doing any work close to power lines—such as trimming trees, working on your roof, or doing exterior renovations—keep yourself, your ladder and anything you are handling a safe distance from the power line.

• Keep equipment away from overhead lines when carrying ladders, pool skimmers, and pruning tools.

• 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.

• Contact SMECO to disconnect power if you are doing work that requires close contact with overhead lines attached to your home.

• Use a licensed electrician for all electrical work.

• Plant trees away from power lines. Trees that will grow 20–50 feet tall should be planted at least 30 feet from overhead lines.

In addition to overhead lines, SMECO has many underground electric lines. Call Miss Utility at 811 before you dig to have underground utilities marked.