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Student drivers to receive training on power line safety

Mon, Feb 7th, 2011
Posted in Business Announcements

Rushford, Minn.- Would you know what to do if you were in a car accident involving power lines? Student drivers in southeast Minnesota will, courtesy of DVDs donated by Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TEC) to local schools and driver's training instructors.

Students from 16 local school districts will be able to view the six minute video created by Safe Electricity that features the story of two teenagers who experienced an accident involving downed power lines. Because they had recently learned the right steps to take, they survived. It includes clips from a live power line demonstration explaining why it's vital to stay inside the vehicle until the electric utility confirms that the lines are de-energized.

"Tragically, many drivers and passengers who survive a car accident involving a power line are electrocuted when they attempt to leave the vehicle," said Brad Pecinovsky, TEC's member services director. "In the vast majority of cases, the safest action is to stay inside the vehicle until the local utility is on the scene to assure the lines are de-energized."

Instincts can help us to avoid danger, but in some situations our natural inclinations can lead to tragic results. If your car hits a power pole or brings a power line down, getting out of a vehicle, with few exceptions is the wrong thing to do. What should you do?

· Call or signal for help. It is safe to use a cell phone if you have one.

· Warn others who may be nearby to stay away and wait until the electric utility arrives to make sure power to the line is cut off.

· The only exception would be if fire or other danger, like the smell of gasoline, is present. In that case, the proper action is to jump-not step-with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. Jump clear. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Hop to safety keeping both feet together as you leave the area. Like the ripples of a pond or lake, the voltage diminishes the farther out it is from the source. Stepping from one voltage level to another allows the body to become a path for electricity.

· The same rules apply with situations involving farm and construction equipment that comes in contact with electric lines. Those working with large equipment should stay inside the vehicle if the equipment extensions come in contact with power lines.

The Safe Electricity DVD can also be viewed online at www.tec.coop > News > YouTube Channel.

Tri-County Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative serving three counties in Minnesota including Winona, Houston and Fillmore and parts of Olmsted and Mower counties in Minnesota and Howard, Winneshiek and Allamakee counties in Iowa. It provides electricity to more than 12,800 services in the area. TEC is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

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