DTE Energy Offers Fall Harvest Safety Tips


DETROIT, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- During the fall harvest season, DTE Energy reminds farmers to be aware of overhead power lines and underground utilities, whether working near the house or out in the field.

"It is essential to use extra care when operating large farm equipment near electrical lines and poles, and underground utility cables and pipelines," said Vince Dow, DTE Energy vice president of Distribution Operations. "If you are using equipment like elevated truck beds, raised conveyors or other large folding farm implements, it is critical to remember to take the time to survey the area, even if you are familiar with it, to be sure that it is free of potential hazards."

In addition to surveying the area for hazards, customers can avoid accidents and injury by following these safety tips:

  * Be aware of the clearance your equipment needs when truck beds are
    elevated or harvester arms are fully extended or raised.

  * Keep all equipment at least 20 feet away from overhead power lines, guy
    wires and utility poles.

  * Report any activity that might have damaged or undermined the stability
    of a utility pole, including damaged guy wires or severe erosion.

  * If your farm equipment has snagged an overhead power line, remain inside
    the equipment.  If possible, try to drive the equipment away from the
    hazard.  If you cannot drive it away, stay where you are and wait for
    rescue.  Call or signal for someone to call 911 and your local electric
    company.  Warn others to stay away.

  * If you must get off the equipment because of fire or other danger,
    remember that your body should NEVER contact the ground and the metal
    equipment at the same time.  Jump clear, then hop with feet together or
    shuffle away. Voltage is highest near the equipment and decreases with
    distance. Hopping with feet together or shuffling prevents your body
    from becoming a conductor of electricity from a high to low voltage

  * Tires are not insulators. Although rubber is not a good conductor of
    electricity, metal, which also is found in tires, is.  If a power line
    is in contact with your vehicle, electricity will travel through the
    metal skin and tires into the ground.  If you touch both the vehicle and
    the ground at the same time, electricity will take the path of least
    resistance and travel through your body to the ground.

  * Never touch a downed power line or anything it is in contact with - even
    if there are no sparks. A live wire may whip or sweep through a wide
    area.  A live wire also may lie still on the ground.

  * To report equipment entangled in a power line, potential damage to a
    utility pole or any downed wire, or damage to an underground utility
    cable or pipe, DTE Energy customers should call (800) 477-4747.

  * Always exercise caution when undertaking any task that requires digging.
    Before beginning excavation projects like tiling, terracing or fence
    post installation, call MISS DIG toll-free at 811 or (800) 484-7171 to
    avoid damaging underground utility cables and pipes.


CONTACT: Eileen Dixon, +1-313-235-9154, or Lorie Kessler,
+1-313-235-8807, both of DTE Energy

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