Expert Electric Blog

Power Line Safety

The electrical infrastructure that is the backbone to power our electrical devices is a manmade marvel. The ability to provide power to cities and towns all over the country is a benefit that we can all enjoy. Power lines are a basic component to provide electrical current throughout cities, neighbourhoods and ultimately our homes. These high-powered lines are packed with strong current and can be highly dangerous if not respected. It is critical that we exercise caution when working around electrical power lines. We have assembled some tips to bear in mind.

Keep a safe distance when working near power lines

Depending on the location of power lines around your home and property, you may encounter situations where you must work nearby electrical lines. Often trimming hedges or trees will bring us within a short distance of live wires or poles.

Standing on ladders, can put you into harms way. Power lines carry a high capacity of electrical current that flows through the wires themselves. By placing yourself closer to high power lines, you may be at risk of causing an electrical arc. If your hedge clippers or ladder comes too close to power lines, the electrical current may jump to the metal ladder, or electrical device. These objects act as a conductor for the electricity to travel to the ground. The result of this could easily be an electrical shock or burn to your body. When performing jobs near power lines, always look up and be conscious of your proximity to the lines. You should always remain at least three meters or 10 feet away from power lines.

If you are trimming a tree, take extreme caution that your falling debris does not come into contact with the power line. A falling branch could cause a spark or stress on the lines that may result in an electrical fire.

Keep a safe distance from fallen power lines

During periods of heavy wind, trees may bend and break under the stress of the wind. Should a tree or large branch break and fall, it may pull down and disconnect a power line from an adjacent pole. Should a power pole fail due to a car accident at the base of the pole, this may also cause power lines to break and fall. During any of these events, take extreme caution and remain at least 33 feet or 10 meters away from a downed power line (The equivalent of one school bus in length). The line is likely still active and charged. If you come across a downed power line ensure that nobody moves near the power line and call 911 immediately. Quick actions can prevent serious loss of life.

As much as we love electrical use in our daily lives, it can be very dangerous. If you have questions or concerns with power lines in your neighbourhood you can contact BC Hydro. For assistance with your home electrical, surge protection or service panel upgrades use a licence electrician. Contact your local Expert Electric at 604-681-8338.