Outdoor Electrical Safety
CEC wants everyone to be safe around electricity. When working outside, remember to always look for overhead power lines. Never touch a power line with a part of your body, or with any object – and never cross a substation fence.
Never cut trees near overhead power lines until you have met with a CEC representative.
Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe:
- Look up! Always examine your surroundings for power line locations before doing any outside work.
- Electricity and water don’t mix. Keep electrical appliances and toys away from water, including rain, wet ground, swimming pools, sprinklers, and hoses.
- Meters and other electrical equipment may be located on the outside of a home or building. The meter measures the amount of electricity used. Never tamper with this or any electrical equipment. Tampering with meters is illegal and dangerous.
- Be cautious on the roof. Working on a roof may put you close to an overhead power line. Avoid standing up and accidentally touching a line with your head or shoulder.
- Use care when painting. When house painting, ensure that nothing, including you, your ladder, your paintbrush or roller, comes in contact with the power line supplying electricity to your home.
- Be careful with ladders and other metal objects. When using an aluminum ladder, check above you for power lines. Aluminum is an exceptionally good conductor of electricity. If you touch a power line with an aluminum ladder, you could be seriously injured or killed. The same goes for antennas, metal gutters, and other long metal objects. Take extra care to ensure that they don’t inadvertently touch a power line.
- Don’t prune near power lines. Pruning trees around power lines should only be attempted by trained professionals. Serious injuries and even fatalities have occurred when untrained individuals do this work without the assistance of qualified professionals. Please call us for an evaluation of the trees and vegetation around power lines prior to any removals.
- Call before cutting. Never cut trees near overhead power lines until you have met with a CEC representative.
- Do not plant vegetation to grow up or near utility poles or guy wires.
- Be aware when moving farm equipment. Stay clear of overhead power lines when moving or storing irrigation pipes and grain augers. Metals and wet objects conduct electricity.
- Do not throw objects up into power lines. This can cause short circuits and could result in injuries. This includes items you might not consider conductive, like ropes and strings.
- See something tangled in a power line? Stay clear. Never attempt to move an object (tree limb, kite, model airplane, etc.) from a power line yourself. Never climb the pole. Contact CEC to have the object removed.
- Distribution wires are “live” – with electrical power that can hurt you. Never shoot or throw anything at wires, insulators or pole transformers.
- Never touch a downed power line. If you see a downed power line, contact your local utility immediately. Don’t touch the line or anything that is in contact with it. Don’t attempt to move the line. Keep others away, and consider every wire on the ground to be energized and dangerous.
- Fly kites, model planes, balloons, and drones safely. Fly them only in wide-open spaces like a field or on a beach. Never fly them around power lines. And never use metal, foil or wire in your kite or kite string.
- Guy wires keep poles standing. Don’t climb or hang anything on guy wires.
- Never climb utility poles, towers or substation fences.
- Obey warning signs. “DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE” and other warning signs are posted in some locations. But remember, all electrical equipment can be dangerous.
- Stay inside during storms. When there is lightning outdoors, get inside a building or car if possible. Keep away from windows and open doors.