May 19 2021, 10:00 AM
For many New Brunswickers, the Victoria Day weekend means it’s time to enjoy the outdoors and finally tackle the long checklist of things to do around the house, yard or cottage. Whether you are just headed out to do a little work in the garden or are off to take on more ambitious outdoor projects, it’s important to keep safety top of mind. Most of us think that we know enough about electricity to stay safe. After all, we are surrounded by it and use it everyday. However, each year people are injured and millions of dollars in property damage are caused by electrical hazards that could have been avoided.
This weekend, follow the tips below to help protect you, your family and your home from harm;
Working around power lines:
Look up! Check the surrounding area to ensure that you will not accidentally come in contact with overhead power lines. Remember minimum safe distances of approach:
- Up to 750 volts - 0.9 metres (3 feet)
- 750 to 100 kilovolts - 3.6 metres (12 feet)
- 101 to 250 kv - 5.2 metres (17 feet)
- 251 to 345 kv - 6.1 metres (20 feet)
Look down! Some power lines are buried as little as one foot underground. Don't take a chance. Be sure you know where power lines are located before digging to install a fence, plant a tree or dig holes.
To ensure you have all the information you need before starting your project, call NB Power at 1 800 663-6272. We can:
- Mark underground lines
- De-energize and insulate overhead lines
- Raise overhead lines
- Provide warning signs for hazardous areas
Planning on using some tools this weekend? Make sure you do it safely.
- If you haven’t used your electric tools all winter, inspect them for damage to cords, plugs and wiring. If required, take the tool to a qualified professional for repair.
- Protect yourself from injury. Turn the electric tool off, unplug it and put it in the “lock” position when carrying or connecting attachments such as mower baskets or saw blades.
- When working outdoors, use only weather-resistant heavy gauge extension cords marked “for outdoor use.” These weather resistant cords have added safeguards designed to withstand the outdoor environment.
- Never leave electric tools unattended where children or other unqualified adults can misuse them.
NB Power always advises leaving tree trimming to the professionals, particularly when the tree and its limbs are anywhere near a power line.
But if you do plan to do some trimming, here are some safety reminders:
- Make sure your ladder or pole doesn’t come within the safe minimum distance to a power line – it doesn’t even have to touch the line, if electrical arcing occurs, you could still be in danger.
- Use fiberglass ladders outdoors; metal or wooden ladders can conduct electricity.
- Do not climb with tools in your hands and be sure to wear safety equipment at all times.
- Do not trim trees in dangerous weather conditions.
Be smart, be safe, stay out of danger!