Staying Safe When a Spray Rig Hits a Power Line
When using spray rigs and other farm equipment, it is important to be aware of your surroundings, including the location of power lines. Before using equipment, plan a route that will avoid overhead power lines or adjust equipment before reaching power lines if you cannot avoid these areas.
Unfortunately, accidents occasionally do happen. If your rig should hit a power line, always assume that the area around the vehicle is electrified and follow these important steps to keep yourself safe. As long as there is not a fire:
Stay in your vehicle. The ground may be electrified.
Call 911 and/or the power company. If you do not have a phone, stay with the vehicle. The power company will be out to check on the power disruption.
- Do no try to pull your rig from the power lines or poles. You will cause more damage to the line.
Emergency Exit Procedure
If a fire starts after hitting the power line, you must escape the vehicle quickly, but safely:
- Stay seated and open the door completely, looking around to make sure no wires are exposed.
- Stand in the door frame with feet together and arms crossed.
- Jump from the vehicle as far as possible, keeping your arms crossed and feet together. Never touch the ground and vehicle together at the same time, as electricity can flow through you from the rig to the ground.
- Keep your feet together. Separating your feet allows electricity to flow from one foot through your body to the other foot, causing serious injury or even death.
- Hop at least 10 meters (about 11 yards) from the site of the accident, then slowly slide your feet apart. If you feel tingling, continue to hop farther away until you are safe. If you cannot hop, shuffle your feet slowly, keeping both feet on the ground at all times.
- Call 911 and/or the power company.
Note that other people in the vicinity should be aware of the possible danger and avoid the area. Because of the conduction capability from the vehicle to the ground, anyone in the area is at risk of electrocution if they approach the site of the accident. This is called "step potential." Instead of running toward the vehicle after witnessing the accident, bystanders can offer their assistance by calling 911 and/or the power company for help.
For more information, view these videos:
- Step Potential: http://bit.ly/1hFejE9
- Nebraska Public Power District — Look Up and Look Out for Power Poles: http://bit.ly/1gZuRSe
- Sask Power (Saskatchewan): http://bit.ly/1nogwnW
Clyde Ogg, Extension Educator
Al Vyhnalek, Extension Educator
Jan Hygnstrom, Project Coordinator
Pierce Hansen, Extension Assistant
Emilee Dorn, Extension Assistant