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Myth-Busting Power Line and Electrical Wire Safety

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With storm season well underway, it is good to think about safety around power lines and electrical wires. It’s not uncommon for them to be knocked down by fallen trees and other debris. We should dispel several myths to make sure you have all the facts to keep you safe.

Myth #1 Power Lines are Insulated. That’s why birds can safely land on them.

Fact: Because rubber is so costly, 90% of power lines aren’t insulated. Instead, they are merely weather-coated. Even the cables and wires connected to major electrical appliances aren’t heavily insulated with plastic or rubber, so you should always stay clear of them.

As for the birds, they don’t get electrocuted because they aren’t grounded. Thus, there is no electron flow or charge imbalance. Unless you are a bird on an unbroken line or are sent by the power company to deal with the downed lines, steer clear!

Myth #2 But if the wire were live, it would be sparking, wouldn’t it?

Fact: That is something we often see in movies as a tell-tale sign of a dangerous live wire. Unfortunately, real life is a bit more ambiguous than that. It’s true that if a power line is barely making contact with the ground, it will spark. But if it makes firm contact, it will be as quiet as a mouse without the slightest spark. Yet, these lines can still contain 1,000-700,000 volts! This is dangerous indeed for anyone who thinks it is safe because it is lying there peacefully. No matter what, stay away from power lines.

Myth # 3 What if I am wearing Rubber Boots and Rubber Gloves? Then I’m indeed safe!

Fact: Only if they are made of 100% pure rubber. Most aren’t. Instead, typical household clothing items are mixed with cheaper, synthetic materials to make them more affordable. This also makes them useless as insulators, especially if they happen to get wet.

The gloves that a lineman wears are laboratory tested to withstand 20,000 volts!

Always Call a Professional!

If a power line is down, call 911. If you are having trouble with your commercial or industrial electrical system or would like a quote on a new project, call the experts at Landmark Electric Inc.. Contact us today!