Power Line Safety
At your Touchstone Energy cooperative, member safety is important to us. Below are some links to important safety information to help keep you and your family safe.
Accidentally contacting a power line can be dangerous and in some cases, even deadly. Your Touchstone Energy cooperative wants to help our members stay safe around power lines.
Keep a safe distance
Whether you are playing outdoors with your children or working on landscaping projects, keep a safe distance from power lines and other equipment your co-op uses to get electricity to your home.
Always remember to:
- Stay away from power lines, meters, transformers and electrical boxes.
- Don’t climb trees near power lines.
- Never fly kits, remote control airplanes or balloons near power lines.
- If you get something stuck in a power line, call your Touchstone Energy co-op to get it.
- Keep a safe distance from overhead power lines when working with ladders or installing objects such as antennas.
- Never touch or go near a downed power line.
- Don’t touch anything that may be touching a downed wire, such as a car.
- Keep children and pets away.
If a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle. This is the safest place to stay. Warn people not to touch the car or the line. Call or ask someone to call the local cooperative and emergency services.
The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches on fire. Open the door. Do not step out of the car. You may receive a shock. Instead, jump free of the car so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground. Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 50 feet away, with both feet on the ground.
As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 or call your electric utility company's Service Center/Dispatch Office.
Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground.
Click on the image below to watch a short video on what to do in an auto accident.
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 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 or 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 below 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.
- Never climb or play around a power pole or other electrical equipment.
- Assume all power lines have electricity flowing through them and stay away.
- Check for overhead wires running near or through trees before climbing, pruning, picking fruit, or raising ladders.
- If you see a power line on the ground or dangling in the air, call your local electric utility and 911.
- Be aware that some electrical appliances may still "carry a charge" even when unplugged. Call a qualified repairperson to service them.
- Electric Lines and services
- If a power line hits your car, stay inside until emergency workers arrive. If you must get out due to fire or other emergency, then jump clear without touching the car and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together. Shuffle away with your feet close together.
- Don't ever climb power poles or transmission towers. Don't let anyone shoot or throw stones at insulators.
- Pad-mounted transformers are for underground wiring. The transformers are inside sturdy metal cabinets that are locked for safety. Never dig near them or pry them open. If you ever find an unlocked door, call the REMC.
- Electrical Storms
- Get inside. If you can not find shelter indoors, go to low ground and crouch down. Stay away from trees and power poles.
- Do not use electrical appliances or the telephone.
- Stay out of the shower or bathtub.
- Avoid trees and other tall or metal objects.
- Stay out of the water.
- Never put your fingers or anything other than an electrical plug or safety cap in an outlet.
- Pull by the plug, not by the cord, when unplugging an appliance. Be alert for damaged plugs or cords.
- Limit the number of appliances plugged into each outlet.
- Unplug small electrical appliances and toys when not in use.
- Don't use electrical appliances when you are wet, have wet hands, or are standing in water.