Electrical utility facilities
Electric utility facilities can be hazardous. Always obey warning signs, and stay outside the fenced area—barriers are there for your protection.
If you lose a ball or frisbee over an electric facility fence, don’t risk getting hurt. Call your local electrical utility to get your toy back.
Trees near power lines
Tree branches and power lines don’t mix. Trees can become energized if a wire comes in contact with its branches.
Hire a professional when pruning vegetation near power lines on your property, and always keep branches at least 10 metres (or 33 feet) from wires that distribute electricity to your property.
Look up and live
Doing some work outside or up on the roof? Before you start work, look up and make sure you and everyone working with you are aware of all overhead lines. Ladders, cranes, pipes and other equipment are good conductors of electricity. Remember, it doesn’t need to be touching a power line to become energized.
Don’t take a chance with your life. If you have to work near power lines, stay at least three metres (or 10 feet) away from overhead power lines at all times.
Never touch a power line
Most overhead lines are not insulated or covered. The protective coating on lines is never safe to touch—it is there to protect the line against the elements, but will not prevent electricity from being conducted to people or objects that touch it.
Remember, electricity can arc or “jump” from the wire to a conducting object like a ladder or a truck.
If you have to work near power lines, keep at least ten metres (or 33 feet) of distance between you and high voltage power lines at all times.
Don't take a chance with your life
- Before you start working near power lines or to report a safety hazard, contact your local utility.
- To report an electric emergency, call 911 or your local utility.
- To report a gas emergency, call 911 or the FortisBC 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-663-9911.
Safety Partners: Nelson Hydro
Building a cooperative spirit between utilities, while delivering a consistent safety message to a broader audience were compelling reasons for Alex Love, Nelson Hydro’s general manager, to join the Safety Partners alliance: “Even though we’re different companies, we all share virtually the same safety concerns.”
One of those shared concerns is downed power lines. “Stay away from them,” Alex says. “Even if they look safe, they may become re-energized. Call your utility immediately.”
Another is the issue of dam safety. With more than 10 hydroelectric dams in the Kootenay region, knowing how to stay safe around them is quite important.
“Dams often create head ponds that look peaceful and inviting for a cool dip, but remember the flow of the river is still taking place,” Alex says. “Nobody wants to get caught in those water currents, so only swim in designated beach areas known to be safe.”
FortisBC works with all its safety partners to improve public awareness of electrical and natural gas safety. That’s energy at work.
Alex Love, general manager, Nelson Hydro