It could save your life
Power lines beside roadways and homes are commonplace to most of us. So commonplace that many of us don’t pay attention to their locations. Do you know what type of power lines are located close to your homes? Are they overhead lines or underground lines? How do you even tell? And why is it important that you know?
“You should always be familiar with the type of power lines located around your home – whether that is an overhead line or an underground line,” said Donnie Worley, WFEC Manager of Loss Control & Risk Management. “Not knowing this information could pose a risk to you or your family members,” he continued.
To identify the type of electric service on your property, first look for transformers on the ground – these pad mount transformers are usually green boxes. Having this type of transformer indicates that you have underground utilities. This may seem elementary, but if your service wire is connected to a mass pipe above your roof, then you have an overhead service at your home.
If you see a pad mount transformer that has been knocked off its base, contact the co-op immediately because exposed wires or damage to the transformer itself could pose a safety risk. The cooperative buries underground primary lines about four feet deep, while secondary lines are buried about two feet deep. If you’re digging around an underground primary line, before reaching the line itself you should see red tape that says “caution buried electrical line below.” If you see this stop digging immediately! Sometimes erosion or excavating in the area may cause you to see the red tape or the conduit these lines are buried in – make sure you let someone at the co-op know if this is the case. If you are unsure where the utilities are located on your property, it is a good idea to call 811 to have them located before attempting any major projects that require digging on your property.
Pay attention to your surroundings when working outside. Did you realize that gardening tools extend your reach distance and could cause you to come into contact with energized power lines? This could happen before you even know it. When working or mowing around meter bases, you should also pay close attention. Equipment like mowers and weed eaters can damage energized wires. Electrical wires connected to meter bases should always be run in conduit, but this pipe can become damaged and become a hazard as mentioned above.
Some other hazards you should look for include low lines, damaged weather heads (make sure covers are on connectors), properly sealed meter bases and exposed wires inside or outside of your home. Open breaker boxes also pose a threat – anyone could touch the energized parts when they are open.
The cooperative does have a hazard recognition program that is designed to recognize and identify many of the hazards mentioned above, but if you think you see a potential hazard, contact the cooperative at 800.342.7400.