Supporting Customers

Power Up Your Safety in Outdoor Summer Projects Near Power Lines

May 30, 2024

As the summer season approaches, the call to dust off the tools and tackle outdoor projects will beckon. From trimming trees to sprucing up the area around your home, these tasks often involve one common tool: the ladder. But before starting your next do-it-yourself (DIY) adventure, it’s crucial to put safety first—especially when working near power lines.

Zap-Proof Project

Imagine a climber being on the ladder, with a tool in hand, when suddenly—ZAP! In close proximity, electricity can jump from power lines to the climber and their equipment, turning your next DIY project into a shocking experience.

To avoid this hazard, you should steer clear of using metal ladders near power lines and maintain a safe distance of at least 10 feet—keep everyone and everything at a safe distance. “Electricity can jump from a power line to you and the tools you’re using, so it is crucial to be aware of where you and your equipment are placed,” emphasized Jack Craighead, Senior Safety Specialist at ComEd.

Live Wire Alert

When it comes to power lines, always assume they’re live; meaning that electricity is flowing through them. Even a brief encounter with a live power line can lead to serious injury or worse.

“Before you start any work around power lines, remember to call 800-EDISON1 to have the power lines de-energized,” adds Jack. “This simple step can help prevent accidents and ensure your safety.” It’s a simple step that can zap accidents before they happen.

Spotter On Deck:

How can you be sure your ladder is a safe distance from power lines? Well, every superhero needs a sidekick, right? ComEd recommends working with a spotter. “A spotter’s responsibility is to keep you and your equipment a safe distance from overhead lines and other hazards,” added Jack.

Whether it’s a power line or a lurking hazard, a spotter can help ensure your project stays on the path to safety.


Electricity, Rain, and Shine

What if Mother Nature throws a curveball during your DIY outdoor project?

Stay safe around electricity when a storm hits or an outage occurs. Wind, lightning, heavy rains, flooding, and other severe weather conditions can cause damage to homes and disrupt electric service. “With personnel available 24 hours a day, ComEd is committed to keeping the lights on and making every effort to restore power quickly when the lights go out,” said Jack. “ComEd tracks weather forecasts and plans strategies to mobilize staff and materials in response to storms.”

If outside, watch for trees and downed power lines — especially in the dark — and report emergencies to ComEd as soon as possible at 800-EDISON1. “Do not touch or try to move downed lines and consider all downed lines as energized and extremely dangerous,” Jack stresses.

Remember: water and electricity don’t mix. Never touch electrical appliances, cords, or wires while wet or standing in water. If an electrical appliance has been in contact with the water, have a professional check it out before it is used. It may need to be repaired or replaced.

Stay Smart, Stay Safe

From painting to gutter cleaning, outdoor projects are a chance to flex your DIY muscles. But during the excitement, it is crucial to not forget the power of safety.

ComEd wants to ensure that your next outdoor project shines bright—without the shock factor. By following these tips and keeping power lines at a safe distance, anyone can enjoy a season of successful DIY adventures. So, gear up, power on, and make safety the star of your outdoor project!