Almost everyone can recall seeing a flyer of some sort stapled to a utility pole, even in rural areas. The greater problem might be finding someone who has not seen a flyer for some event either tacked or staples to a utility pole.
So what's the big deal? How in the world could a piece of paper hurt anyone? How could it be a safety risk?
"It's not the piece of paper that we're worried about," explains Wayne Newhart, representing Indiana Statewide REMC. He's retired from a long career working at the Tip-Mont REMC.
"No one thinks about it, but something as simple as a staple or a tack left behind that could tear even a tiny hole in a lineman's glove could be deadly," Newhart says. "It's those gloves that protect linemen from serious injury should they make an error and come into contract with a live wire at high voltage.
It's not something you would even think about yet it can cause catastrophic damage. And if it only happens once, that's once too often. Don't put flyers on utility poles!
"We also have trouble with electric lines that have grown into trees,' he notes. "We try to keep branches around lines cut out. But we still can have problems. Young children like to climb trees and see how high they can go. They like to show off to mom and dad."
Chuck Tieman, a former lineman who suffered a debilitating injury, joins Newhart at some of the electric safety presentations. "There was actually a case where a young girl climbed a tree with mom watching, and kept going higher and higher. She eventually grabbed a power line that was going through the tree, not thinking it would be hot.
"It took a long time to get the power shut off because of how events unfolded. It was a heartbreaking case. Tree-houses in trees with electric lines near the branches just aren't a good idea either."
Kids will be kids, he notes. Should that happen at your home, and someone in a tree contact a power line, call 911 immediately, he advises. Then call the utility yourself to have them turn off the power. Don't assume something will trip out or that someone else will call it in. Stay clam and make these two calls. It may be your loved one's only chance.