- 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
- Collision with electrical equipment
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.
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.
What to do in case of a collision with electrical equipment
When a vehicle hits a utility pole, anyone close by can receive an electric shock.
If you’re inside a vehicle that is in contact with a power line that has fallen to the ground
- Remain in your vehicle, as the tires insulate you from the electricity.
- If you can, call 911 immediately and tell them electrical equipment has been damaged by the accident.
Extreme case: What to do if you cannot remain in your vehicle, in case of fire, for example
- Open the door wide, touching only the handle.
- Remain inside the vehicle.
- Place your feet side-by-side on the edge of the doorframe.
- Get close to the edge of the vehicle with your feet touching each other.
- Keep your hands close to your body.
- Jump as far away from the vehicle as you can. CAUTION: Keep your feet together and jump forward, making sure that your body is never in touch with the metallic parts of the car and the ground at the same time.
- Hop away from the vehicle, keeping your feet together until you are at least 10 metres away from the source of electricity. While you hop away from the vehicle, make sure your feet are always touching each other.
- Once you are at a safe distance, call 911.
If you’re outside the vehicle involved in the accident
- Stay at least 10 metres away from the power lines that have fallen to the ground, the vehicle involved in the accident or any other object, such as your own vehicle, that may be live (energized).
- Warn others who may be nearby to stay at least 10 metres away.