Electrical Safety Starts with You!

Above or below, utility power is all around. It only takes 50 volts of electricity to be lethal, and many of the power lines you see each day carry tens of thousands of volts! Stay safe around power with these tips:

Stay clear of downed lines! Always treat a downed powerline as if it is live! Overhead power lines along our streets can carry tens of thousands of volts. That much power can easily arch or electrify objects it contacts for long distances. We advise staying at least 35 feet away from any downed line and please report any downed line to us immediately!

Substation safety. Jefferson PUD operates substations throughout the county. Each substation receives incoming transmission power (often up to 115,000 volts!), reduces and distributes the power to the primary lines throughout our neighborhoods and county. That much power, though well maintained, is incredibly dangerous. Never, under any circumstance, enter a PUD substation! If you notice damage to any PUD substation fencing, please let us know right away! Also, never fly devices like a drone anywhere near a substation–the same goes for flying kites or using balloons near high voltage overhead lines. Contact with the lines can damage equipment, cause an outage, or potentially injure someone nearby.

Transformer safety. Transformers are the unsung (often unnoticed) hero of our electrical grid, taking the power from higher voltages near your home and making it usable. Transformers can be pole mounted or pad mounted near homes. Please avoid touching transformers or planting vegetation near one. If one is found damaged or open, please call us immediately! Incoming and outgoing power from a transformer is very dangerous.

Underground, but not out of mind. More and more utility lines are being routed to the relative safety of belowground. This doesn’t mean they do not pose a serious hazard—one that can be easily avoided! Before you dig, whether it be a new garden bed, a post hole for a mailbox, or a fence post row, call 811. Dialing 811 directs your digging question to affected utilities. A free location check will be handled within 48 hours. Nobody wants to cut their internet cable, or poke a hole into a sewer line, or potentially strike a high voltage line. Call before you dig and know exactly what is down there!

Electrical safety at all levels. Ladders are a lifesaver in getting things fixed or cleaned in high places but consider a ladder an extension of yourself when navigating around the home or a job site. Always carry a ladder sideways to avoid contacting overhead lines and keep ladders at least 10 feet away from any powerline!

Need a trim? Call the pros! Never touch a tree that is contacting power lines! Trees and other large brush can conduct electricity (you may even see them arching power when in contact) into the ground or directly into someone touching it. If you see a tree contacting a line or feel a strange “tingling” sensation near a tree contacting a line, please call us immediately! You can also report it via our website (here). Never trim a tree near on or near a utility line.

 

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