Electricity is an important part of our daily lives. It's everywhere. It lights our
homes, cooks our food, powers our tools, and runs our televisions, radios and
computers. Unfortunately, too many people are injured or killed every year
because they used electricity in an unsafe manner or simply disregarded the
basic rules of electrical safety. The vast majority of electric shocks are
preventable. In fact, human error is the cause of at least 80 percent of all
electrocution deaths in Ontario. Electricity is safe if you treat it with respect
and not become careless about how you use it.
Contact with a powerline is very dangerous and can happen in an instant, but its impact is felt forever. From serious injury to death, the results are always devastating.
A simple chore like removing leaves from an eavestrough can turn into a life-changing event around overhead powerlines, if necessary safety precautions are not taken.
Most people do not think about the silent but potentially deadly risks posed by overhead powerlines. We depend on powerlines to power our homes, businesses, and neighbourhoods. It is important to always respect their power by exercising safety precautions when playing or working around them.
Look up, look out and locate power lines to avoid any potential hazards!
What You Can Do: 7 Essential Powerline Safety Tips
Look up, look out and locate powerlines when cleaning eavestroughs and windows, working on the roof, painting the house or pruning trees. Always have a signaller - someone who can watch to make sure you stay at least 3 metres away. You don't have to touch a powerline to receive a deadly shock. Electricity can jump or "arc" to you or your tools if you get too close.
Carry ladders horizontally, never vertically, and check for overhead powerlines before putting them up.
Keep away from electrical transmission and distribution lines, and never climb utility poles. Always obey the safety signs. If a toy ends up inside a transformer station, call Renfrew Hydro Inc. - don't try to retrieve it yourself.
Call or click before you dig! Powerlines are not only found above ground, they can also be buried beneath it. Before you start construction on a deck, fence or other landscaping project contact Ontario One Call to locate all utility-owned underground infrastructure including natural gas, communications and powerlines, as well as water ans wastewater pipes. Privately owned underground powerlines require a private locate.
Plant trees away from overhead powerlines so they don't grow into the powerlines. If your trees have grown into the powerlines, contact Renfrew Hydro Inc. Do not trim trees around powerlines yourself. More tree trimming and landscaping tips here.
Watch for downed powerlines - if you see one stay back 10 metres or 33 feet (the length of a school bus) and call 911 and Renfrew Hydro immediately.
Talk to your kids about powerline safety and help them find safe places to play, away from utility poles and powerlines. Choose wide-open spaces to fly kites, and never attempt to retrieve a kite or any other object that is tangled in a powerline. Remind children never to climb trees near powerlines and make sure they take a close look since leaves and branches can hide the wires. The green boxes on lawns or in parks are also off-limits.
Actions Taken in a Vehicle That Has Contacted Overhead Wires
Know what to do; stay inside a vehicle that has come into contact with overhead wires until the power is disconnected (unless you see a flame)!
Overhead wires carry fatal amounts of electricity. If your vehicle has come into contact with an overhead wire, stay in the vehicle until power is disconnected. Even if you see smoke, stay in the vehicle.
However, if you see a flame, you will need to get out away from the risk of fire and exit safely.
Move to the side of the vehicle that is clear of the powerline if you can.
Open the door and perch on the edge of the vehicle. Make yourself small enough to jump through the opening without touching the vehicle or door.
Jump clear of the vehicle and land with both feet touching together. Then, shuffle away with both feet touching. You must shuffle at least a distance of 10 metres (33 feet; at least the size of one full school bus) from the downed powerline or anything in contact with it; like the car, or a fence, until you can walk normally. Keep everyone at least that far away!
To reduce the likelihood of dangerous occurrences and prevent
accidents, call Renfrew Hydro anytime you are thinking about
trimming, planting or removing trees around power lines on
We do not normally trim or remove vegetation on the customer's
property unless it poses a serious electrical hazard. We want to
protect our customers and help them manage vegetation on
their personal property, and upon request we can remove and
reinstall the customer's service lines in order for the vegetation
removal to occur safely.
Hiring professional tree trimmers for your personal property vegetation needs is the safest solution. Never perform
tree trimming around powerlines on your own. Only certified, trained tree maintenance personnel should perform
vegetation maintenance that is within 3 meters of a power line.