Can you imagine an electrical flash that burns hotter than the surface of the sun? What if we told you that the source of that heat was all around you — and more specifically, right above you?
Power Line Safety
Power lines play a crucial role in how your Missouri Electric Cooperatives deliver electricity to you in rural Missouri, but power lines can also be incredibly dangerous. This 2012 video produced by Crawford Electric Cooperative in Bourbon, Missouri, shows exactly what happens when people, animals, or trees make contact with power lines.
“Electricity is always looking for that path to the ground,” the presenter explains.
That means that anything that comes in contact with a power line has the potential to become the electricity’s path to the ground. In the examples in the video, you can see that a helium balloon, a metal pole, and a tree each conduct electricity when they come in contact with an overhead power wire.
When humans come in contact with overhead power lines, they can become electricity’s path to the ground, too. The result is a dangerous — but largely avoidable — electric shock.
Steve, an employee of Pike Electric (a service partner of Missouri's Rural Electric Cooperatives), was nearly killed when he was shocked by an overhead power line. He talks to an audience of first responders and public works employees, explaining that he never thought electric shock — which left him hospitalized for three months — could happen to him.
“I spent three months in intensive care and had 19 surgeries. They told me I’d never walk again,” he tells the audience.
“It was preventable,” he says. “I really was the guy who said, ‘I’m only going to be there for a minute, and it won’t happen to me.’”
Look Up and Live
Power lines are a critical part of our infrastructure for delivering power to you, our rural Missouri Member-Owners. But power lines can also be dangerous. Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives urge you to, “look up and live,” before doing construction work, cleaning a pool, or trimming trees on your property.
Awareness of the location of power lines on your property, when combined with using best safety practices, will help prevent you from causing the kind of electrical fires, disruptions, and shocks shown in Crawford Electric’s video.
About Crawford Electric Cooperative
Incorporated in 1940, Crawford Electric is a not-for-profit member-owned electric cooperative that provides energy services to residential, agricultural and commercial accounts in parts of six east-central Missouri counties.
Crawford has more than 60 employees and serves more than 30,000 Missourians through almost 20,000 meters. Crawford’s physical plant consists of more than 3,300 miles of distribution line located within Crawford, Franklin, Washington, Gasconade, Jefferson and Dent counties. The system also includes the city of Bourbon.
Crawford Electric is the 15th largest of Missouri’s distribution cooperatives in terms of numbers of meters served as well as miles of line energized (source). You can visit Crawford Electric’s website, and the Cooperative is also on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.