May is Electrical Safety Month

The month of May is electrical safety month, an annual effort to help reduce electrically-related fatalities, injuries, and property loss.

This time of year means more farm equipment on the roads, and local energy providers remind you to look up and look out for overhead powerlines.

If you come upon a downed power line, always assume it is energized. Call your local provider to report the downed line.

Should you come in contact with a downed power line, you are encouraged to stay inside your equipment or vehicle unless you absolutely must get out. If you must exit, don’t touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time with any part of your body or clothing.

With the door open, stand up with your elbows tucked into your stomach with your hands held close to your chest. Jump out and away from the vehicle or machinery, taking care to land with your feet together and touching. Continue to hop away until you’re at least three car lengths away.

Electrical safety extends to inside the home as well. If possible, unplug electronic equipment before a storm arrives or try to have a surge protector in place. Avoid contact with electrical equipment and cords during storms as well as water and plumbing, including sinks, baths, and faucets.

Here is a list of electrical safety “Do’s and Don’ts” :


  • Be aware of overhead power lines and their exact locations at all times. Avoid equipment contact with overhead power lines.
  • If you must go under or near a power line, have someone spot for you to make sure there is plenty of clearance. Learn hand signals for communicating with your spotter.
  • Move irrigation pipe, augers and other farm equipment with extreme caution. Aluminum irrigation pipe is light, easy to carry and conducts electricity.
  • Lower tillage equipment before pulling it under power lines. Make sure that truck beds are completely lowered.
  • Equipment should maintain a minimum 10-foot clearance from lines, because electricity can arc through the air between the line and the grounded equipment.
  • Water and electricity do not mix. If you are working in damp conditions, always plug into an outlet that has a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. For pivot irrigation systems, make sure the panel boxes are watertight and always shut and locked.
  • Know where your fuse boxes and circuit breakers are located. Teach your hired help and family members where they are located as well.
  • Always have an emergency plan in place. Teach hired help and family members what to do in case of an emergency.


  • Don’t attempt to fix any damaged guy wires. Contact your local public power utility immediately.
  • Don’t count on rubber tires to insulate you because tires aren’t pure rubber. They contain steel and carbon black. Both will conduct electricity.
  • Don’t touch or move anyone who is in contact with electricity. You could be shocked. When calling 911 or your local emergency number, be sure to report an electric-contact accident.

More electrical safety information is available here: