BEFORE climbing or using long or tall objects (ladder, pole, etc.)
Follow these three safety rules:
- Look for power lines nearby.
- Keep everyone and everything at least 3 m away from a medium-voltage line.
- Be sure that nothing will touch the low-voltage lines (including the lines connected to the service entrance of your house). Even though they are usually insulated, the sheathing may be cracked and therefore inadequate.
Potentially dangerous situations
- Pruning, cutting down or climbing a tree
- Building a treehouse
- Using a ladder
- Delivering materials with a crane or cherry-picker
- Working on scaffolding or a cherry-picker
- Working on a roof
- Cleaning out eavestroughs
- Skimming a pool
- Putting up holiday decorations
- Piling up snow
- Playing on a huge snow pile
- Playing with water blasters
- Flying a kite or drone
- Approaching a downed power line
Pruning or cutting down a tree
Climbing a tree
Pruning or cutting down a tree can be dangerous. There is a real risk of falling or being hurt by a falling branch. If the tree is near a power line, it’s even more dangerous.
Building a treehouse
All children dream of a treehouse. But before building one, make sure there are no power lines nearby. And when your children are playing in trees, remind them not to go near power lines or place anything near them.
Using a ladder
Ladders are very long objects used to work at heights. Working on a ladder is already dangerous, and even more so near power lines.
Delivering materials with a crane or cherry-picker
Whether you’re a professional or a friend lending a hand, here’s the very first thing you should do when making a delivery at height.
Working on scaffolding or a cherry-picker
Scaffolding and cherry-pickers are for working at heights and handling all sorts of materials and tools. An eavestrough, for instance, may easily get too close to the lines if it’s windy or you make a wrong move.
Working on a roof
Working on the roof means working at height! Add to that the risk slipping if you go up to clear ice or snow. If you’re using long materials or long-handled tools, those are additional risks.
Cleaning out eavestroughs
To clean out eavestroughs, you need to use long poles or go up a ladder. So there’s a risk of getting too close to power lines.
Skimming a pool
If your pool meets the clearance standards for the various types of lines, the risk of accident while using a long-handled skimmer is much lower. But it’s still important, before you use one, to know the safety rules.
If you buy a long-handled skimmer, opt for a fibreglass rather than aluminum one. That’s because aluminum conducts electricity very well, but fibreglass provides better insulation.
Putting up holiday decorations or a Christmas tree
A Christmas tree outside a house always looks beautiful. But remember that the taller it is, the greater the risk of touching a power line.
Be sure the extension cords you need for outdoor holiday lights are designed for outdoor use and are in good condition.
Piling up snow
Power lines are often found on the edges of schoolyards. It is important to pile up cleared snow a good distance away from the lines. As soon as kids see a big pile of snow, they want to slide down it, and they could get too close to the lines.
Playing on a huge snow pile
In winter, there are often huge snow piles. They’re perfect for kids to slide down. But sometimes the snow pile is near or even directly underneath power lines, and the kids could get too close to the lines.
Playing with water blasters
These new superpowered water guns now have huge tanks so they can shoot a continuous stream over a distance of several metres. When the spray hits a medium-voltage line, it’s just as if the hands holding the water gun touched it directly. It’s extremely dangerous.
Flying a kite or drone
A kite could easily get tangled up in power lines and the string you’re holding can easily conduct electricity. There’s a risk of serious electric shock.
Don’t steer a drone anywhere near power lines. It’s DANGEROUS. If your drone happens to land behind the fence of a Hydro-Québec substation, don’t try to go get it yourself. You’d be risking your life: Call Hydro-Québec’s security department instead.
Approaching a downed power line
There’s a high risk that the line is live, and the nearby ground electrified, as well. NEVER use anything to try to move a line. Even a tree branch can conduct electrical current.
Call Hydro-Québec or your municipal emergency response service immediately.