Make sure kids’ tree-climbing exploits aren’t near power lines

Tips from the Snohomish County PUD during National Electrical Safety Month.

  • Saturday, May 4, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Snohomish County PUD

Summer is on the horizon, meaning sunnier weather, longer days and plenty of time spent outdoors.

For kids, that can mean climbing trees. But while parents often worry about their children falling from great heights when clambering up that large hemlock in the back yard, there’s another dangerous hazard for kids who climb trees: electrical wires.

Electrical wires can sometimes cut a path too close to taller trees, creating opportunities for children or adults to get near live electrical wires. It’s a situation that can result in electrocution and death. If power lines are encroaching on a tree or running through one on your property, call the PUD’s Vegetation Management team at 425-783-5579.

May is National Electrical Safety Month. It’s a great time to talk about the risks that come with electricity and how best to avoid potential electrical hazards. Each year, the Snohomish PUD’s Education Department delivers electrical safety lessons to thousands of school children around the county. Our safety department does the same for first responders and city workers.

Here’s some of the tips they talk about for staying safe around electricity:

Watch for overhead lines anytime you use a ladder, do work on the roof or climb into a tree. Carry ladders horizontally near power lines. Don’t ever lean ladders on power lines. Make sure to take notice of any power lines near your roof and check clearances before climbing on top of it. Lastly, never approach downed power lines and stay at least 30 feet away.

Along with power lines, make sure to keep children away from the green padmount transformer cabinets that can be found in yards. Never let them play on the cabinets and don’t try to open them or reach inside.

According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, an average of 51,000 electrical home structure fires occur each year. Many of these are caused by outdated or faulty wiring. If you have an older home, ask an electrician to inspect your wiring to ensure it can handle typical electrical loads.

Extension cords are another common danger around the home. Don’t run extension cords under carpets or extend them through windows or doorways. Always make sure to check electrical cords for breaks in insulation and replace if failing. Also, don’t overload outlets with too many plugs.

To prevent accidentally hitting an underground utility line when digging, remember to call 811 before you start a project. Customers are advised to call the hotline at least two working days before starting a digging project of more than 12 inches deep, including landscaping, remodeling and fencing.

For more information on electrical safety, visit

Talk to us

More in Life

Photos by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times 

The Jacob and Sarah Ebey House will open to public visitors Memorial Day weekend.
A landmark steeped in 19th century history reopens on Whidbey

Beginning May 28, you can venture inside one of the state’s oldest buildings: The Jacob and Sarah Ebey House, which dates from the 1850s.

Caption: Incorporating frozen vegetables into your menu plan is a fast and cost-effective way to save money on rising food costs.
The secrets of cheap meals: frozen veggies and slow cookers

They not only stretch your food budget, but also timesaving godsends for busy parents. Here are three recipes to try.

Cinderella_Red.jpg: Red Riding Hood (Katelynn Carlson) gets advice from Cinderella (Grace Helmcke) in Red Curtain’s production of Into the Woods, running May 20-June 5 at the Red Curtain Arts Center, 9315 State Ave. in Marysville.
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Marysville troupe stages a Stephen Sondheim musical masterpiece. Jazz, featuring the sons of legend Dave Brubeck, takes over Edmonds. And there’s this music festival in downtown Everett …

Navigating the rough, often scary seas of a hospital stay

After helping a friend who underwent major surgery, Paul Schoenfeld reflects on ways to cope for patients and their loved ones.

Sam Bowles records the run off the water from a chalk drawing with friend and co-artist, Rhyanna Mercer, Tuesday afternoon in Everett, Washington on May 10, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Jackson High’s global TikTok star is chalk full of ideas

Sam Bowles, 18, uses vibrant videos and social media fame to raise awareness of autism.

I canceled my flight to Frankfurt, but now I can’t use my credit

Melissa Crespo receives a $2,060 ticket credit when she cancels her flights to Frankfurt, Germany. But now her online agency has told her she can only use 25% of the credit at a time. Can it do that?

Lonicera ciliosa, commonly called orange honeysuckle or western trumpet vine. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: orange honeysuckle

Its orange trumpets announce spring is here, and hummingbirds are irresistibly drawn to it.

Home & garden happenings in Snohomish County

The Mill Creek Garden Tour will return this summer after a two-year absence due to COVID-19.

Photo Caption: Would you believe a zipper sold for $18,450 at Morphy Auctions? What about a diamond necklace that looks and works like a zipper?
X-Y-Z spells ‘big money’ with this high-fashion zipper

It’s actually a necklace, but the zipper function works. Someone paid nearly $18,500 for it at a recent auction.

Most Read