As the weather warms up, British Columbians are spending more time outside doing yard work like trimming trees, but a recent survey commissioned by BC Hydro found that nearly three quarters of British Columbians do not know the safe distance they should maintain between their equipment and the power line, and almost half were unaware that branches touching electrical lines can conduct electricity.
“Public safety is a responsibility we take very seriously at BC Hydro and we make every effort to educate the public about the hazards associated with electricity,” said Hugo Shaw, BC Hydro’s senior vice president of safety, security and emergency management.
“We want to remind the public that contact with a power line can cause severe injury or even death. To stay safe, a property owner and their equipment should be at least 3 metres – about a car length – from a power line at all times.”
Keeping vegetation clear of power lines is an important step in staying safe, but BC Hydro’s research showed that 41 per cent were not aware that it was the property owner’s responsibility to keep vegetation on their property clear of power lines.
BC Hydro reminds property owners that if any part of the tree or hedge is within three metres of a power line, call 1-800-BCHYDRO and a representative will assess the conditions and recommend an approach.
BC Hydro offers the following tips to help the public stay safe around power lines:
• Locate the line. Look around and locate the power lines before beginning any work outdoors. Trees can conduct electricity, which means branches that touch power lines can make the tree a safety hazard.
• Stay back. Always maintain a safe distance from power lines: stay back at least three metres. That is about the length of a standard four-door car.
• Be aware of the arc. Electricity can “arc” or jump from power lines across a gap to tools or ladders.
• Call before you dig. About 12 per cent of power lines are underground. Be aware of underground power lines, gas lines and other utilities to stay safe. To find out what is buried and where not to dig, call 1-800-474-6886.
For more information on how to stay safe around electricity, visit bchydro.com/besafe.