Stay Safe in Car Collisions
with Power Poles
It’s back-to-school time and our young drivers will be heading out the door for classes and extracurricular activities. Today’s high school students put in long days, sometimes arriving before classes for sports team practice and staying into the evening for other activities. Should the unthinkable happen and a student falls asleep on the drive home, veers off the road, and into a power pole, I want them to know how to react.
In traumatic situations as described, it may be instinctive to flee as soon as possible. However, if you are in a car accident with a power line, the safest place is often inside the car. Safe Electricity (safeelectricity.org) provides an example of this very situation and an electrical safety demonstration that all teen drivers should see.
Two Indiana teenagers, Ashley Taylor and Lee Whitaker, experienced such a traumatic situation themselves in 2009 when they were in an auto accident involving power lines. Fortunately, earlier that week they had attended a program at their school that warned of the dangers of car accidents with power poles. Lee and Ashley made sure nobody left the car and warned those who came upon the accident to stay far away.
Power poles carry high, potentially fatal levels of electricity. If you are in an accident with one, your whole vehicle may be charged with electricity. If you step out, you will become the electricity’s path to the ground and could be killed by an electric shock.
Only exit the vehicle if it is on fire. If you must exit the vehicle, jump clear of it with your feet together, and continue to “bunny hop” with your feet together so that you will not have different strengths of electric current running from one foot to another.
Car accidents with downed lines are not just dangerous for those involved. Well-meaning bystanders may try to approach the car to help. Warn them to stay away from the accident until utility professionals and emergency responders have confirmed that there are no electrical dangers.
Safe Electricity encourages you to share what you know about electrical safety with friends, family, and new drivers, so—like Lee and Ashley—they will know what to do in a car accident with a power pole. For more information and to watch the video of Lee and Ashley’s story, visit www.wecnmagazine.com. Let’s all do our part to stay safe around electricity in all situations.
Electrical Safety on Dairy Farms
Wisconsin electric cooperatives developed a statewide farm rewiring program in 2002 following the tragic death of a co-op dairy producer working in his barn. The purpose of the “Safety First! Dairy Farm Rewiring Loan and Grant Program” is to assist dairy farmers with the cost of rewiring projects in older barns and to promote safety.
The Safety First! Program was recently expanded to make available a loan/grant combination of up to $30,000. The grant portion represents 20 percent of project costs up to $6,000 and the loan 80 percent or up to $24,000. The program will now cover cows, sheep and goats that are kept for the production of milk. To qualify, all work must be performed by a master electrician, licensed by the state of Wisconsin. Call your electric cooperative for more information.