Electricity is a vital ingredient of modern life, but it remains potentially dangerous.
That’s why each locally-owned Nebraska utility makes safety its top priority. It is imperative that our employees and contractors return home at the end of the day to their families and friends, healthy and ready to work the next day.
Utility field workers and contractors go through rigorous safety training to make sure they work safely around heavy equipment and electric facilities.
Nebraska’s locally-owned electric utilities also conduct extensive safety demonstrations in school classrooms and at community events to ensure customers understand the potential dangers of electricity.
Power lines can be brought down during extreme weather. You should never touch a downed electric line – instead, call your local electric utility so a crew can be dispatched to the site.
NPA members also communicate with customers about electric safety in the home, at work and in the field. Through regular customer communications, including videos posted on their websites, Nebraska’s electric utilities emphasize many safety tips, including the following:
- Always look up and around before using a ladder. Innocent home improvement projects like cleaning out gutters or hanging storm windows can turn deadly if an aluminum ladder makes contact with an electric line.
- Never touch electric lines or anything hanging off those lines.
- Frayed wires on home electric appliances can shock and injure you or your loved ones. The next time you brew coffee or use a hair dryer, take a moment to inspect the wires. If they are frayed, avoid a potential accident and purchase a new piece of equipment.
- Before digging with a shovel or trenching or landscaping equipment, call the Diggers Hotline (811) to make sure there are no buried power lines where you will be working. Your local utilities will mark the location of their lines so you will be protected.
- Don’t operate electric equipment like hair dryers or entertainment centers if your hands are wet or you are standing in water.
- People risk injury or death when they tamper with transformers or electric equipment like meters or equipment boxes. Never try to remove a meter, steal electricity or open an electrical box that a utility has sealed.
- Don’t prune trees or bushes growing near or on overhead power lines. Call your local utility or a professional tree-trimming firm.
- If you see someone who has made contact with a live electric wire, don’t touch them. Instead, pull the plug on the equipment or shut off power at the fuse or circuit-breaker box, then call 911.
Many NPA members have developed energy education programs specifically for school-aged children. Here’s a summary of the energy education efforts of one NPA member, Lincoln Electric System:
- The Hazard Hamlet safety display demonstrates indoor and outdoor electrical safety. Last year, the Hazard Hamlet Safety Demonstration was presented in 14 classrooms to 355 students.
- The High Voltage demonstration, which works with 7,200 volts, shows the danger of transmission and distribution lines. This outdoor display was demonstrated 81 times to approximately 4,600 people at health and safety fairs.
- Electrical safety booklets are distributed to all students, grades K-5, in the LES service area every spring, including public, private and home schools. In 2011, over 20,000 booklets were distributed.
- Educational programs on generation of electricity, and electric safety are available by request for any age group. Approximately 1,000 people were reached through 35 presentations last year.
- DVDs on electrical safety are available as classroom teaching aids.