Power Line Safety
Outdoor Electric Safety Tips
- Look up to locate all power lines near your home, work or play areas.
- Always keep yourself and any tool or equipment you may be using at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
- Don’t trim trees with power lines nearby.
- Always carry ladders or poles horizontally, never upright.
- To avoid contact with an overhead powerline, never place a trampoline, pool or playhouse near power lines.
- Teach your children to fly kites or toys in fields away from overhead power lines.
- Don’t attempt to remove anything that has become tangled with an overhead power line.
- Always assume an overhead power line is energized and dangerous.
Downed Power Lines
Storms, accidents, and other events can cause a downed power line. A downed power line should always be considered extremely dangerous – keep away and never approach a downed power line. Power lines draped over highway barriers or fences can energize them for great distances. Don’t touch anything that’s in contact with the wire. Don’t drive over a downed power line. If a power line falls on your car, stay in your car. You’re safe as long as you do.
In the event of a storm, treat any downed wire as if it is energized, stay away from the line, and call Montana-Dakota. When trees or branches break during storms, do not attempt to pull tree limbs off lines. Let our trained work crews perform this potentially dangerous work.
Never try to cut fallen wires. Consider every fallen wire as dangerous. Report the downed line to authorities or call Montana-Dakota. If you see a fallen power line, stay far away from it and warn others to stay away, too. Call MDU or the local police right away. All downed power lines should be considered energized and dangerous.
Never try to reposition a downed line with sticks, poles or other items that are normally considered to be “nonconductors.” To some extent, electrical current can travel through most materials — even ones that are said to resist it.
If your car comes into contact with a downed power line, stay inside and wait for help. The vehicle’s rubber tires will help protect you from becoming a pathway for current to flow to the ground. If you must leave your vehicle, open the door and leap as far away from the vehicle as possible. Above all, do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
Tree trimming and power line safety around trees
You, your neighbors, businesses – your community – depend on safe, reliable electric service. Safe and reliable electric service can sometimes be threatened in part by trees growing into electric lines. When electric lines come in contact with trees, problems can occur:
- Power Outages
- Fire Hazards
- Safety Hazards
Why Montana-Dakota prunes/sometimes removes trees around power lines
Montana-Dakota works to assure the reliable and safe operation of its electric lines near trees. Tree limbs that come in contact with power lines are a major cause of electrical outages. Limbs that touch electric power lines can become energized if they break and fall. They can bring the lines down with them. To reduce outages and minimize safety hazards caused by tree contacts, Montana-Dakota prunes trees away from its power lines on a planned pruning cycle. Sometimes removal of a tree that is causing interference with a power line is the best approach. Keeping power lines clear of limbs and brush provides easier access to power lines, which means quicker restoration of power during storms and other times of trouble.
Your safety counts
To ensure your safety, never trim limbs or remove trees around power lines. Let a professional tree trimmer handle these situations or contact Montana-Dakota. Do not climb utility poles or trees near power lines. Tree branches or limbs can conduct electricity when touching a power line. In the event of a storm, treat any downed wire as if it is energized, stay away from the line, and call Montana-Dakota. When trees or branches break during storms, do not attempt to pull tree limbs off lines. Let our trained work crews perform this potentially dangerous work.
Planting around power lines
With our help and proper tree selection by you, we can work together to minimize future maintenance and storm restoration problems by providing adequate clearance near power lines. There are many trees that can be planted under or near power lines that will not result in interference. Selecting the proper tree can eliminate or reduce the need for pruning. For additional information on trees that are suited for planting under or near power lines, please contact a Montana-Dakota representative.
Commitment to healthy trees in our communities
Crews and contracted personnel use the tree trimming guidelines of the National Arborist Association and ANSI Standard A300. An overview of the two primary trimming methods used is based on the work of Dr. Alex L. Shigo, the author of “Pruning Trees Near Electric Utility Lines: A Field Pocket Guide for Qualified Line-Clearance Workers.”
To make arrangements for tree pruning or tree removal near a power line or advice regarding tree selection, call a Montana-Dakota representative at 800-MDU-FAST (800-638-3278) or request service online.