May 17, 2018 – For many, the warmer spring weather means a time to finally put away snow shovels and boots in favor of gardening tools and sandals. National Grid reminds its customers while they enjoy the outdoors they should always exercise caution when around electric facilities, poles or equipment.
All members of the public should avoid contact with power lines as they have the potential to cause serious injury or even death. National Grid recommends that individuals should always stay a minimum of 10 feet away from overhead power lines. The human body can be a conduit through which electricity flows to the ground, so it is safest to never work or play in any area where you are in danger of directly or indirectly contacting power lines.
Customers can find National Grid’s, “Stay clear and stay alive” outdoor safety guide here. In addition, National Grid offers the following safety reminders:
- Ladder safety:
- Keep a distance of at least 10 feet from power lines, even from those connected to your home.
- Never touch power lines with any part of your body, ladder or tools. Metal parts and moisture conduct electricity, so don’t use an aluminum ladder or a damp, moist, or wet wooden ladder.
- Never place a ladder in a puddle of water or on damp ground.
- Before erecting a ladder, always look up to be sure it will not come in contact with, or even come close to, a power line.
- Always carry ladders horizontally, and keep them away from power lines.
- Be sure equipment is properly grounded before using power equipment and tools. For an added measure of protection, install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters on all outdoor electric outlets. They are designed to help prevent shock injury.
- Never use power tools (or any electric device) while standing on a damp floor or wet ground. If the power tool is damaged by contact with water, you could receive a fatal shock.
- Indoor extension cords are not safe to use outdoors. Before plugging in any extension cord, check to see if the insulation is cracked or frayed. If there is damage, replace it with a new cord.
- Before installing a new antenna, satellite dish or any rooftop appliance, be certain it is clear of all power lines. The antenna must be firmly secured to the roof and may require bracing with guy wires to withstand high winds. A metal antenna can form a deadly conduit for electric current if blown into a power line.
Special Cautions for Outdoor Recreation
- Kites, model airplanes and other toys should be flown only in open fields, far from any trees and power lines. If a toy gets tangled in a tree or power line, the safest thing to do is leave it there. Don’t fly toys on damp or rainy days. Wet string can conduct electricity. Don’t use metal string or a kite that has metal in its construction. If it touches a power line, the life of the person holding it could be in danger.
- When sailing and fishing, be alert near shorelines, inlets and marinas for overhead lines that could come in contact with masts or antennae. Before casting fishing line, check for nearby electric lines.
- While outdoors, remember that the coating you may see on overhead wires is intended to protect the wire from the weather. It will not protect you from electric shock. Overhead power lines carry very high voltages, so it’s safest to assume that all overhead wires are electric wires.
Stay as far away from downed wires as possible. If you see a downed wire, immediately notify the fire department and National Grid.