Look out, look up, live.
This simple phrase offers strong advice wherever farmers and overhead power lines coexist.
“We can’t get it out enough about the contact of electrical lines being on the ground,” says Todd Bailey, safety director and purchasing manager for Southern Public Power District based in Grand Island, Neb. In spring, “we know that they’re getting out there with the disk or cultivator. We seem to always hit a wire or a pole, and that wire comes down.”
The trouble begins when a hot wire falls, as Bailey stresses the importance of staying in your vehicle or the cab of your farm equipment to wait for a utility company to show up.
Bailey says there are just too many unknowns in such a situation that can lead to heightened risk and potential death.
The risk is increased as more and larger agricultural equipment is on the roads and in the fields.
“Now we have agricultural sprayers, along with airplane spraying, coming in contact with the lines,” Bailey says.
Linemen from multiple electrical utilities across Nebraska will be on the south end of the Husker Harvest Days showgrounds to demonstrate the power that is in the lines overhead.
Show attendees continue to stop by the demonstration area year after year, proving people remain interested in learning about and seeing the impacts of electricity.
Having a demonstration available where you can actually see the power of electricity and some of the damage it will cause reinforces the need to respect electricity and call for help when needed.
Hot dog under fire
Utility linemen will have a hot-line trailer, to show the damage that 7,200 volts can do to multiple items, such as a hot dog.
Using proper safety equipment, a lineman will lay a hot dog, to simulate an appendage, on the power line. After hit with electricity, the hot dog appears normal on the outside. But when broken open, burn marks are seen on the inside.
Bailey says other demonstrations, which occur every 15 to 20 minutes depending on crowd flow, will show what happens when a variety of items come in contact with a power line.
“We show how every service that we have has a primary cut-out, which is called a fool’s door, and we show that exploding when it comes in contact with maybe a squirrel or a ’coon,” he says. “Basically, what you see on this trailer is a complete small version of a line feeding into a residential home.”
To see the exhibit, visit Lot 1155 during the show.