Danger Zone for News Crews
"There are a lot of hidden dangers around power lines, accident scenes and power line construction zones," says WEMC's Larry Thompson, director of loss control. "Our linemen are trained to avoid these hazards and work safely. It's important for everyone else to stay well back from our crews and equipment."
Besides being injured, onlookers can divert a lineman's attention from the task at hand. When manipulating wires carrying 14,400 volts, these skilled technicians need to focus all their thoughts on what they're doing.
After storms, debris and trees complicate the matter even more. Downed or low-hanging lines can be deadly if they are energized. Don't let getting the story distract you from thinking about your own personal safety.
"If you have any questions about a Walton EMC work site, ask our linemen," says Thompson. "They have the authority to maintain a safe environment and can tell you how far back to stay to avoid problems."
TV news crews should especially be aware of power lines when raising microwave antenna masts and other tall electronic equipment, especially if it's dark.
Review these power line safety rules:
- Stay well back from Walton EMC equipment, including poles, guy wires, substations, underground transformers and vehicles.
- Stay away from any fallen line (including power, telephone and cable TV lines).
- Call us immediately if you see downed lines.
- Keep all objects away from power lines. Antennae and masts can cause death when they contact a hot power line.
- Do not touch a person who is in contact with a live power line.
- When you see our crews and equipment along roadsides, slow down and proceed with care.