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New survey warns homeowners of powerline dangers as fall cleanup begins

DCN-JOC News Services
New survey warns homeowners of powerline dangers as fall cleanup begins

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. — As fall clean up begins in many parts of the province, a recent survey of 1,000 Ontario homeowners commissioned by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) finds 39 per cent don’t look to see where powerlines are located when doing maintenance and repair work on their homes.

There have been four times as many overhead powerline contacts made by Ontarians in non-work settings when comparing 2018 to 2020, indicates an ESA release.

The following is a list of safety tips ESA has compiled for homeowners:

  • Distractions can be deadly: Before you start any outdoor work, locate all overhead powerlines. Be especially aware of powerlines that may be hidden by trees, particularly after storms.
  • Stop, look, live. Stay back three metres: You do not have to touch a powerline to get a deadly shock. Electricity can jump or “arc” to you or your tools if you get too close.
  • Plant trees away from overhead powerlines: Avoid problems down the line by determining how large the tree will grow and planting it a safe distance away so it does not grow into a powerline. If your trees have already grown into the powerlines, contact your local utility or a utility arborist. Do not prune trees around powerlines yourself and carry your ladder sideways, never upright.
  • Call or click before you dig: Before you start construction on a fence, deck or other landscaping project, check with Ontario One Call. They will tell you about any utility-owned infrastructure you may need to work around.
  • Talk to your kids about powerline safety: ESA’s survey showed 71 per cent of Ontario homeowners with children don’t talk to them about powerline safety. Remind children never to climb trees near powerlines as leaves and branches can hide the wires.
  • Watch for downed powerlines: You can get an electrical shock from a downed powerline, even if you don’t make direct contact. The ground around the downed powerline may be energized. ESA’s survey revealed 25 per cent of Ontario homeowners have encountered a downed powerline but half don’t know to keep at least 10 metres away. If you see one, stay back and call 911 and the Local Distribution Company 

For more information about powerline safety, visit esasafe.com/safety.

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