Spring has arrived and Summer is just around the corner. Soon, kids will be out of school and outdoor activities will begin. People will begin cleaning and maintenance projects around their home, farm or ranch.
It's important to be aware of powerlines as we're out an about during warmer weather. Overhead electric lines carry a powerful charge that heats, cools, and lights our home and businesses. Electricity can burn, injure, or kill unless you respect it and practice safety when you are around it.
Similar to lightning, the flow of electrical energy is constantly working to find a path to the ground. If you cause an object or part of your body to come in contact with a powerline, you are immediately providing the path that energy is seeking.
One of the common dangers exists when kites are being flown. When accidental contacts are made, metal guide wires, wet string or strings with metal strands provide the path to the ground through your body.
Tree climbing can be fun, but there may be a hidden danger — powerlines between the limbs that if touched could turn enjoyment into tragedy. Even if the power lines are not touching the tree, they could come in contact when more weight is added to the branch.
On the farm or ranch, irrigation pipe can be an excellent conductor, and when raised in an upright position, can contact the powerline causing you to become a fatal accident statistic.
Grain augers and many other types of farm equipment are tall and can become an excellent path to the ground should you fail to recognize the potential danger of a powerline overhead.
Metal or wet wooden ladders that you might use around your home or other buildings are conductors of electricity. Use extreme caution when using these types of ladders around electrical wires.
Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long tools like ladders, pool skimmers, and pruning poles. Be sure to lower your long equipment when you are moving it. Carry ladders and other long items horizontally whenever possible.
Be careful when working on or around your roof-installing rooftop antennas and satellite dishes, installing or cleaning gutters, or doing repair work. Never go up on the roof in windy or bad weather.
Be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house. Keep equipment and yourself at least 10 feet from lines.
Never trim trees near power lines-leave that to the professionals. Never use water or blower extensions to clean gutters near electric lines. Contact a professional maintenance contractor. For more information on electrical safety and to see videos about power line safety, visit www.SafeElectricity.org.