Safety is Our First Priority - Carolina Country

Safety is Our First Priority

by Dale Lambert

By Dale Lambert

Dale Lambert

Safety is something we regularly discuss and expect from all employees of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, as well as our contract crews. No matter the job, safety is our first priority.

Safety is also your first priority. A recent conversation with one of your fellow member-owners reminded me. The member asked my thoughts about the possibility of seeing any storms in our area. With summer upon us, severe weather is a possibility every day.

After hearing that, he said, “Well, if we have a bad storm that knocks the power out, I’ll get out and cut trees off the line for you.” A cold chill ran down my spine. His heart’s desire was to offer assistance, but the reality is that serious injury and possibly even death could result from his offer.

My response was, “Thank you for your willingness to help, but please do not go near a downed power line or tree that may be near a power line. You could be seriously injured or killed. Leave it to the experts. That’s what we’re here for.”
After this encounter, I realized that safety cannot be stressed enough or talked about too much.

With that thought in mind, I want you to understand how electricity works and just how dangerous it can be. Electricity is always seeking a ground. Contact with electricity can cause an electrical shock. If you get between electricity and a ground, you become a path for electrical current to flow.


The fire pictured is coming from an energized power line lying on the ground. The grass was wet from rain, yet it was burning from the intense heat being generated from the energized line.

Even a small and seemingly insignificant shock can be frightening, painful and cause extensive damage to the body. Electric current can burn the skin, nerves, muscles, and tissues in the body. A severe electrical shock can cause the heart to stop beating and severely damage vital organs and tissue that could lead to death. A downed power line can be deadly if not handled properly.

Many people are under the assumption that if a power line is on the ground or lying in trees and no smoke or sparks are coming from it, it is de-energized. This is not necessarily true! Just because a power line is down or a tree is on it does not mean the line is dead. A line is only dead when it’s properly grounded.

In this issue you’ll find some basic safety tips to follow not only during and after storms, but as you go about your daily activities.

Safety is our top priority at your electric co-ops. It should be a top priority for you and your family as well. Please take the time to share this basic information with your family. Knowing the basics can not only help prevent an injury, it can save a life.

About the Author

Dale Lambert is CEO for Randolph EMC, located in Asheboro. He also serves as vice president of the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation board of directors.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.

Like this?

Share it with others