Western Power is reinforcing to the community of the potential of electrical shock, following a sharp increase in the number of reported vehicle accidents involving wood poles and metal street lights on the network.
In 2016/17 Western Power crews were dispatched more than 1,100 times to make safe fallen powerlines or exposed wires, which create hazards for the community and emergency services.
Western Power Executive Manager of Asset Management Seán Mc Goldrick, said crews always respond to hazards or an electrical emergencies as a priority, but the community needs to be aware of the potential risks to them following a vehicle accident.
“We understand people’s first instinct is to help but when powerlines coming down, the safest option is to stay away because you are potentially putting your own life at risk,” Mr Mc Goldrick said.
“We have a number of in-built safety mechanisms that activate when the network is damaged. If you see a damaged pole you should always treat the area as a potential electrical hazard, and stay at least eight metres away.”
Although the total number of poles and street lights damaged has only risen slightly from last year, there has been a 30 per cent increase in wood poles being hit. This creates a significant risk of potential electric shock for the community.
“It takes a lot of force to damage a wood pole and it usually alerts neighbors of the accident. Electricity is dangerous and it’s our job to make sure the area is safe, after you’ve called 000 make the safe call to Western Power on 13 13 51,” Mr Mc Goldrick said.
The reminder is timely following an incident on Wednesday when a tow truck driver needed to be hospitalised after receiving a serious electrical shock while attending a car crashed that involved a wood power pole.
“The driver made the potentially fatal error to assume that, because he didn’t see any damage to the pole, it was safe to do his job. Fortunately he is alive today to remind everyone that it is Western Power’s job to make sure the area around the network is safe following an accident.” Mr Mc Goldrick said
Anyone seeing an accident involving the network should ring 000 for emergency services and then make the safe call to Western Power on 13 13 51 so we can secure the area.
About Western Power:
Western Power is a State Government owned corporation that is committed to providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to more than one million customers across a network area of 255,064 km2.
For more information about the Make the Safe Call campaign visit: https://westernpower.com.au/safety-access/make-the-safe-call/
To learn more about staying safe around the Western Power network visit our website at: https://westernpower.com.au/safety-access/