National Electrical Safety Month Brings Timely Reminders
on Electricity Safety Tips, Damage Prevention
With the start of summer only a few weeks away, hundreds of New York State parks that are maintained by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will soon open too. May is National Electrical Safety Month, dedicated to safe practices in and around the home and workplace, and National Grid crews are using an opportunity to promote a special focus on outdoor electrical safety.
Today the crews performed an Electricity Live Line Demonstration before more than 70 New York State Parks personnel at Verona Beach State Park, in Verona Beach, on safety awareness and the hazards when working near live electricity utility lines to ensure visitor and worker safety.
“Reliably delivering electricity and natural gas to Central New York customers takes a continued focus on safety by National Grid employees, a focus we work to share with the region’s we serve,” said Alberto Bianchetti, National Grid Central New York Regional Executive. “Reminding New Yorkers to call 8-1-1 before digging and being safe around overhead power lines is a part of that effort. We are grateful for the chance to partner with the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to help our customers have a safe, injury-free summer.”
The demonstration featured a model, live electricity pole similar to those in place in most residential neighborhoods and presentations on the dangers of live electricity wires and how fences and other materials can become energized. Dig Safely New York also offered tips on damage prevention by calling 8-1-1 before doing any outside ground work and the hazards caused by digging into underground facilities.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, golf courses, recreational trails and boat launches, which are enjoyed by 74 million people annually.
“The New York State Parks Central Region is proud to partner with National Grid and Dig Safely New York on this important training for our employees,” said Rob Hiltbrand, New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Regional Director. “The safety of visitors and our employees is our highest priority, and we are thankful our partners are taking the time to educate staff members on the precautions of working around live utilities. Our mission is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational opportunities to our visitors and for our employees to go home safe at the end of each day.”
Dig Safely New York, the service behind 8-1-1, provides a single point of contact to notify National Grid and other utilities of planned digging, drilling or blasting. The utilities will clearly mark their buried pipes and lines prior to the start of excavation to ensure customer safety and to prevent damage. Dig Safely New York service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to receive calls regarding planned excavations. The call is simple and the service is free.
“The Electricity Live Line Demonstration is an important educational opportunity National Grid is facilitating for the personnel of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Having this type of experiential learning experience provides a missing resource in the educational environment within this industry,” said Kevin Hopper, Executive Director at Dig Safely New York. “As safety is our number one priority and commitment to the people of New York State and the utilities lines that make our communities work, vital education like this live line demonstration, is necessary for professionals to counter preventable risks and damages.”
National Grid crews perform demonstrations on electricity safety awareness, damage prevention, and the importance of proper training, as part of the company’s continued commitment to promote safety through customer education and outreach.
The easiest way to stay safe around electrical equipment is to stay away, whether it is the recommended 20 feet of distance from overhead lines or being mindful on where electrical services are attached to and enter a home.
National Grid offers the following reminders on outdoor electricity safety:
- Use caution when using any ladder, pole or other extension around electrical services, especially overhead wires. Pay particular attention to the location of wires when moving ladders or poles.
- Before beginning your spring planting project, check with the experts at least two full working days in advance of doing any outside ground work to determine the precise location of underground lines and facilities. A simple phone call in Upstate New York to Dig Safely New York, Inc., by calling 8-1-1 can prevent serious personal injury, property damage and service interruptions caused by accidentally digging into electric, gas, telephone, water, sewer or cable facilities. Calling 8-1-1 is the law. Visit http://bcove.me/2jj1uovo to view a short video on the importance to call before you dig.
- 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.
- 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 electricity 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.
- Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed lines should immediately be reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 911.
Additional safety information for home and work is available at National Grid’s website at https://www.nationalgridus.com/Upstate-NY-Home/Electrical-Safety. The Electrical Safety Foundation International, which promotes Electric Safety Month around the world, also has useful information here: http://www.esfi.org.