We all know that children love to climb up, on, and over things. Fences are particularly inviting. With your children on summer break, it is the perfect time to talk to them about electrical substations and why they must never climb the fences surrounding them. Your electric cooperative has placed signs, “Danger – Keep Out” or “Warning – High Voltage” on substation fences for your protection. Make sure your child understands this fact.
If your child is somewhat older, he or she may ask plenty of questions about the dangers involved. If a more detailed answer will help get the message across, here is a simple explanation that should help your child respect a substation fence – and the power of electricity. The electrical substation changes the extremely high voltage carried by the long-distance transmission lines into the lower distribution voltage that serves homes and businesses. In order to perform this task, the substation needs a direct feed from the transmission line into the substation structure. The equipment within the substation is always under high voltage electrical load. Substation technicians, co-op linemen, and maintenance crews are trained to work in high voltage situations and to recognize and avoid potential hazards in the substation. Just how high is the electric voltage? Some of the pieces of equipment in the substation equipment could be energized at more than 100,000 volts. Remember, substation fences mark the danger zone for you. You are safe if you stay away from them.
If your home is served by underground electric cable, you may want to plant some flowers or shrubs nearby to disguise that transformer cabinet on your property. Don’t do it! Our line crews need easy access to those cabinets to perform maintenance and repairs. Shrubs, trees, and even flowerbeds can block access. And after the work is done, you’ll be unhappy about the state of your plants! Also, it’s simply dangerous to plant or work close to these transformer cabinets. They contain high voltage lines that should be avoided at all times, except by our trained personnel. So, give those cabinets a wide berth – and teach your children to stay away, too. Warn them not to play around the cabinet. And never open it!