General Power Line Safety
- Keep your distance! Remember the 10-foot rule: When carrying and using ladders and other long tools, keep them at least 10 feet away from all overhead lines - including any lines from the power pole to your home.
- Look up before raising a ladder or pole to verify that it will not be close to power lines when raised. Use a flashlight or lantern at night to help you see overhead power lines or other hazards.
- Don’t let children climb trees that are near overhead power lines.
- Kites or balloons that contact power lines can cause shock or fire, so fly them away from overhead lines.
- Do not attempt to prune, trim, or cut trees that are in danger of contacting power lines. Before trimming a tree, call Mississippi County Electric at 870-763-4563 or 800-439-4563 if you have any doubts.
General facts about electricity:
- Electricity always seeks a path to the ground. When you become part of this path, you may be injured or killed.
- Good conductors include water, your body, tree branches, metal poles, and ladders.
General power line safety tips:
- Assume all utility lines are energized.
- Never touch any utility wire, and do not touch anyone who is in contact with an electric wire.
Fallen lines around or on your home:
- If you see a fallen line, fallen tree limbs, as well as anything they are touching-such as puddles and fences, stay far away. Keep pets and children away too.
- If there is a fallen power line near your home, stay inside unless told by emergency personnel to evacuate.
- Call Mississippi County Electric.
Fallen lines around or on your vehicle:
- Move the vehicle away from the line if you can do it safely.
- Warn others to stay away; anyone on the ground who touches your vehicle could be in danger.
- If the vehicle is okay (not on fire), stay in the vehicle until an emergency responder indicates it is safe to get out.
- If you must leave due to other hazards, jump clear of fallen lines. Don’t touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Land with feet together and hop away with both feet together.
- Call 911
Electrical Safety and Generators
Preventing Electrocutions Associated with Portable Generators Plugged Into Household Circuits
When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source such as a portable generator. If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until the electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in installation and start-up activities. The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.
When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the "off" position prior to starting the generator. This will prevent power lines from being inadvertently energized by backfeed electrical energy from the generators and help protect utility line workers, other repair workers, or people in neighboring buildings from possible electrocution. If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid, and energize power lines or electrical systems in other buildings to at or near their original voltage without the knowledge of utility or other workers.
Effects of Backfeed
The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk for electrical energy workers. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths. Following the safety guidelines outlined above can reduce this risk.
Other Generator Hazards
Generator use is also a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Generators should only be used in well-ventilated areas.