Take these precautions to prevent farm equipment from coming in contact with electric power lines:
- It only takes a few seconds of distraction to make contact with a power pole. Stop the tractor or combine when swatting flies, taking a drink of water, talking on your phone, etc.
- Be observant of overhead power lines when moving augers or tall equipment.
- Check height clearances of combines and large equipment when driving near or under power lines.
- Be alert for guy wires, power poles, and ground-level transformer boxes.
- Train all drivers of your farm machinery these safety rules.
If your farm machinery does hit a power pole or come in contact with electrical wires, follow these rules to stay alive:
- DO NOT GET OUT OF THE VEHICLE unless it is on fire, and even then exit using careful safety procedures outlined below. Your safest place is to stay in the equipment and call for help using a cell phone or radio or to wave at someone passing by. Request someone to call the electric company. Only after they arrive and clear your vehicle of energized lines, will it be safe to get out.
- Always assume a power line is HOT! Do not let others get close to the farm equipment until electric company personnel has arrived and cleared the vehicle.
- Do not attempt to move a downed line with anything.
- If your vehicle is making contact with energized wires, the tires or other grounded parts may start to melt and burn. If your vehicle is on fire, jump out and away from the vehicle so that no part of your body touches the equipment and the ground at the same time. Continue jumping away from the vehicle with your feet together, downhill if possible, until you are well away from the vehicle. Be sure to visually check for any wires on the ground when jumping.
The same thing applies to the driver of any car or truck that hits a power pole. STAY IN THE VEHICLE. It is the safest place. Most people who are killed or injured in this type of accident are either electrocuted when they step out and become the electricity’s path to the ground or when they walk into or step on downed power lines.