Safety

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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,


Power Line Safety

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.

Always Respect Electricity

Be safe around electricity! Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don't touch an electric switch with wet hands
  • Never overload outlets with too many plugs
  • Never plug in an electric cord that is frayed
  • Don't use electrical equipment outdoors in the rain
  • Never use water to put out electrical fires
  • Don't stand under trees or telephone poles during a storm
  • Stay away from fallen electrical lines
  • Fly kites in open fields away from electrical lines
  • Stay out of the water during a thunderstorm
  • Stay away from substation fences
  • Do not throw rocks at utility line insulators or transformers

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Power Line Hazards and Cars

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.

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Frequently Asked Electrical Safety Questions

Are power lines insulated?

Many people think that power lines have insulation material around them like the electric cords we see on appliances. However, high voltage lines are not insulated. An appliance will use voltages of 110 to 240 volts. At that level insulation material is practical. But at 7,200 volts, that material would burn off the line, and if the material was substantial enough to handle that voltage, it would be too heavy and too expensive to use.

Why can birds sit on power lines without being hurt, when it would kill me to touch that same line?

Electricity is lazy - always searching for a quick and easy path to the ground. When a bird lands on the line, and does not provide a path to the ground, the electricity continues to take its straight path through the conductor. However, if that bird were to sit on a pole, the electricity would immediately run through the bird, finding a quick path to the ground. The bird will be safe as long as it doesn't allow one part of its body to touch the conductor and another to touch a path to the ground. If a person should climb a tree, reach out and touch a power line, electricity would flow through the person to get to the ground.

What should I do if I'm in a car which hits a pole and a power line falls on it?

Again, never let one part of your body touch a conductor and another touch the ground. The best thing to do is sit in the car until someone comes to help. You should be all right as long as you stay put. The only time you would have to get out is if a fire should break out. In that case, you would open the door and jump from the vehicle, being careful not to touch the ground and the car at the same time.

If I am wearing tennis shoes and I touch a power line, will I be protected?

No! Linemen wear special protective equipment when they are working around the power lines to protect themselves against accidentally touching one of the lines. These rubber-type gloves and sleeves are made of a special insulation material, at an exact thickness. The gloves are tested daily to make sure they are doing the job they were designed for. Tennis shoes are not made to be insulators and definitely don't undergo periodic laboratory testing. You should never touch anything which is energized.

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Safe Electricity

Click on "Safe Electricity" for all kinds of games, information and resources teaching electrical safety.

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