Look up, look out and look around. Safety begins with being alert.
- Be aware of overhead power lines and their exact locations at all times. Avoid equipment contact with overhead power lines. If you must go under or near a power line, have someone spot for you to make sure there is plenty of clearance. Learn hand signals for communicating with your spotter.
- Move irrigation pipe, augers and other farm equipment with extreme caution. Aluminum irrigation pipe is light, easy to carry and conducts electricity. It is difficult to control when the wind catches it. Instead of fighting the wind, drop the pipe if there are power lines nearby. Lower tillage equipment before pulling it under power lines. Make sure that truck beds are completely lowered.
- Keep stacks of hay and hay bales away from power lines so you don’t have to worry about electrical accidents with loading equipment.
- Build grain bins away from power lines to reduce the risk of grain augers coming into contact with the lines. This also eliminates the chance of a storm blowing a power line onto a metal building which then becomes electrified.
- Always lower a grain auger when moving it from bin to bin.
- Equipment should maintain a minimum 10-foot clearance from lines, because electricity can arc through the air between the line and the grounded equipment. Don’t count on rubber tires to insulate you because tires aren’t pure rubber. They contain steel and carbon black. Both will conduct electricity.
- Watch out for guy wires.
- Know the location of underground lines before you dig. Call Nebraska811 at least 48 hours before you dig. There are serious penalties for those who don’t call.
- If your machinery or vehicle comes in contact with a power line, stay inside your vehicle and wait for utility personnel to de-energize the line. Warn others to stay away. If there is danger of fire, jump clear. Be careful not to touch the ground and the vehicle at the same time. Land with your feet close together. Keeping your feet together, shuffle or hop away until clear of danger. Electricity can spread out through the ground in a concentric circle from the area of the downed line.
- Exercise caution after a storm; lines may be down. Report outages to your local power supplier as soon as possible. Stay clear of downed power lines.
- Water and electricity do not mix. Keep all electrical equipment dry and free of corrosion. If you are working in damp conditions, always plug into an outlet that has a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). For pivot irrigation systems, make sure the panel boxes are watertight and always shut and locked.
- Growing electrical demand places a heavy burden on old electrical wiring. Check to make sure that all wiring is up to the job, properly sized and maintained. When replacing worn or damaged wiring, hire only qualified electricians to do the job for you. Routinely check the condition of outlets, cords, plugs and tools.
- Know where your fuse boxes and circuit breakers are located. Teach your children where they are located as well.
- Always have an emergency plan in place. Teach all family members what to do in case of an emergency. Don’t touch or move anyone who is in contact with electricity. You could be shocked. When calling 911 or your local emergency number, be sure to report an electric-contact accident.
If someone is shocked:
- For your safety, do not touch the individual if they are still in contact with the power structure. If possible, turn off the power at the control panel, then call 9-1-1 and tell them it is an electrical injury.
- If the victim is away from the power source and not breathing, apply cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), if you know how. Then, cover the victim with a blanket, keep their head low, and get medical attention.
- If you do not know CPR, ask your local hospital or Red Cross where and when the classes are given.