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Myths & Facts

MYTH:  As long as my ladder isn’t metal it can rest on the powerline.
FACT:  No matter what the ladder is made of it represents a potential hazard. Be safe keep all ladders away from overhead powerlines.

MYTH:  I’m just trimming tree limbs, I won’t be using a ladder so I don’t need to worry.
FACT:   Anything that touches a powerline – a pruning tool, the tree limb or your hand can give you a shock, burn or kill you. Better idea: call an arborist or your local electric utility and have one of their trained arborists trim the tree for you safely.

MYTH:  I’m just digging a couple of feet into the ground. I don’t need to worry about underground lines.
FACT:  The lines may be closer than you think or a grading change may have occured over time. Better to be safe than sorry. Call before you dig -- it's the law! Call Ontario One Call to get a cable locate.

Video: Call Before You Dig

Make sure you know what is in the ground before you dig. Don't be like Lucky the Squirrel - call or click Ontario One Call one week in advance before you dig.

MYTH:  If a powerline falls on my car, I should get out and run to safety right away.
FACT:  The car and the ground around it may be electrified and you could be killed if you get out of the vehicle. Stay inside until the utility workers tell you it’s safe to get out. Tell everyone to stay back 10 metres or 33 feet.

MYTH:  To get a shock or burn, I need to actually touch a powerline.
FACT:  Just getting too close could cause you to receive a severe shock, burn or even kill you. Electricity can jump or ‘arc’ through the air to you or an object that gets too close. Always stay at least three metres or 10 feet away from powerlines.

MYTH:  If I’m wearing rubber boots or safety boots I won’t get a shock.
FACT:  Even safety boots rated for electrical work (with the green omega patch) don’t necessarily provide 100 percent protection from shock. Normal wear and tear or even lots of dirt can compromise their ability to protect you. Always avoid contacting or coming too close to powerlines.

MYTH:  I can use a wooden stick to prop up a powerline or to knock down a toy that’s tangled in a powerline.
FACT:  Even wood can conduct electricity. Never touch or come close to a powerline. Contact your local utility if you need assistance.

MYTH:  A powerline that’s been knocked down doesn’t have electricity flowing through it, so it’s safe to be near it or move it out of the way.
FACT:  Always assume a downed powerline still has electricity flowing through it, even if it isn’t sparking. Stay back at least 10 metres or 33 feet (that’s about the length of a school bus), call 911 and the local utility.

Video: How dangerous are overhead powerlines? 

Lucky the Squirrel learns the hard way how dangerous overhead powerlines can be.