News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
Power lines are one of those things you probably only think about when they aren’t working. If a storm knocks them out, you lose power to your home. But at Classic City Arborists, we have to think about power lines a lot. In fact, they’re one of the first things we note when assessing a potential customer’s tree work.
What do we look for?
It can be hard to judge whether or not a power line close to your home will be a problem when it comes to the tree work you want done.
Scott Rushing, our Certified Arborist, uses his many years of hands-on experience and professional training to decide whether or not the lines need to be dropped before any work can be done. But essentially, we’re looking to see if there are power lines too close to the tree(s) in question, or even just too close to the work site where we’ll be operating some heavy machinery.
What does “dropping” power lines mean?
If the power lines on or near your property end up being too close to the job site for us to work around them, then your estimate will have a note that the “power lines need to be dropped.” Basically, this means the lines have to be detached from at least one pole so they aren’t running live power. Usually, they’re laid flat on the ground that they’d normally hang above, so they’re easy to reattach when the time comes.
How do I get power lines dropped?
It’s actually pretty easy to get your power lines dropped. In most cases, we will contact your power provider to set everything up. We will coordinate the specific work date with you and your provider a few weeks prior.
Will I lose power?
Unfortunately, yes. Depending on the scope of the tree work you want done, you may be without power for just an hour or two, or maybe for the whole day. Once the lines are dropped and we can begin working, we always start with the tree(s) and work that directly interferes with the power lines. As soon as we are no longer working around the power lines, we will call the power company to have them restore the lines.
Can’t you just work around them?
We know that having the power to your home cut for even a short period of time can be super inconvenient, even with plenty of time to prepare. When assessing any job site, Scott walks around and even measures distances to see whether or not working around power lines is an option.
But it’s important to realize how dangerous working too close to power lines can be, for us and for you.
The Dangers of Tree Work around Power Lines
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), contact with electricity is the leading cause of death for tree care workers. Trees are excellent conductors, which means electricity travels through them easily. This means that if we put a metal saw against a limb of a tree that’s touching a power line, electricity will run from the line, through the tree, into the metal saw, and then into the worker!
This may not seem like a big deal (especially if you’ve ever been zapped by an electric fence), but power lines pack some heavy firepower. Coming into contact with one, even indirectly like we just described, can be fatal. Even if you don’t die by electrocution, that amount of electricity wreaks havoc on the human body. Depending on circumstances, it may even be enough for ignition (which means you catch on fire).
Of course, we take a range of safety precautions to protect our workers. The first measure we take to protect against power line accidents is to have lines dropped when working close to them. Our employees also wear proper gloves and shoes at all times, and maintain the regulation distance from overhead lines. We maintain Workers Comp to ensure our employees (and customers) are protected in the event of an accident.
By dropping power lines before completing your tree work, we’re also keeping you safe as well. Like we said, trees are excellent conductors of electricity. If a limb comes into contact with an active power line, electricity can travel through it and into the ground, where it disperses in all directions. This surge can electrocute you, your dog, your children, passersby, and can even overload the circuits in your home (like if it got struck by lightning).
Basically, messing with power lines is a huge risk for everyone involved! Having them dropped prior to our work protects both you and us from injury and even death.
Have other questions? Check out our FAQs for more information! For a free estimate, feel free to give us a call or fill out our online form.
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.