Spring is in the air, and that could mean cleaning up outside after a cold winter. As you rake the lawn, clean off roofs and plant trees and shrubs, remember that power lines can be above you and buried in the ground. “Taking time to locate power lines may be the most important task on your to-do list,” said Anthony Bunting, vice president of customer service and energy delivery. “Spring can be an enjoyable time of year. Don’t spoil the season by being careless around electricity.”
The latest data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that on average, there are more than 400 electrocutions each year in the United States. Ladders contacting power lines caused nine percent of the electrocutions, and landscaping, gardening and farming equipment were responsible for seven percent of electrocutions each year. Power tools made up another nine percent of the total electrocutions.
Cleco advises that before you climb a ladder or use a long-handled lawn tool, look up and check for power lines. Electricity can arc from the line to an object that is dirty and/or wet. That means just being near a power line can be dangerous.
To help keep you safe from contact with underground power lines, call 811 at least 48 hours before you dig. Louisiana One Call is a free service that will ensure the location of underground electric lines is marked for your safety.
“It also is important to remember not to touch a tree if its branches are touching a power line,” said Bunting. “Electricity can leave the tree and use your body as a path to the ground. Don’t trim branches that are close to or touching a power line. Again, taking time to locate power lines is one of the best ways to stay safe while working in the yard.”
Before you begin your tasks, check extension cords and cords on electric equipment for fraying. Use electric equipment in a dry place and avoid standing in water while using any electric tool.