The thrill of Angry Birds can sure shock those who play it, but is it worth the risk of 7,200 volts?
This year alone, members of Northern Plains and Dakota Valley Electric Cooperatives reported 101 accidents between power lines and farm equipment. That’s almost as many as the 105 accidents reported in all of 2012! Most farmers do their best, but in some cases, farmers said they didn’t notice the poles because they were reading the newspaper or playing games on their Smartphones. So if you’re reading this post from the cab of your tractor right now, we appreciate it, but KNOCK IT OFF.
We joke, but truly, these accidents are no laughing matter. No injuries have been reported so far this year, thank goodness. But, last year we had one contact and even one fatality. Clearly, mitigating these accidents, and raising awareness of what to do if one does occur, is a high priority for the cooperatives as well as the families involved.
My husband earned his living as an electrician for 12 years, so he is well aware of the risks associated with electricity. Even he will mention how he narrowly missed a guy wire whilst moving snow with the skid-steer. These accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. It’s our job as caregivers to gently remind (and even pull ears if we have to!) our loved ones to stay alert. And if they do run into our wires, here’s what you tell them:
* CALL YOUR ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE: If it’s Northern Plains or Dakota Valley, the numbers are 1-800-882-2500 and 1-800-342-467, respectively.
* DON’T GET OUT: Unless there’s a risk of fire or imminent danger, stay put. If you must exit the vehicle, jump clear of it. Hop away with both feet together.
* NO TOUCHIE: Don’t touch any machine connected to a power line and keep others away until a lineman disconnects the service.
So as harvest begins, please remember: Look Up and Live. And call if you have questions or concerns: 1-800-882-2500 for Northern Plains Electric or 1-800-342-4671 at Dakota Valley Electric. We care about you. Come home safe.
— Katie, Manager of Member Communications for Northern Plains and Dakota Valley Electric Cooperatives