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 Many of these are caused by outdated or faulty wiring.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 www.snopud.com/playitsafe.

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