Be safe doing autumn clean-up

— As the leaves turn, fall weather arrives in the Pacific Northwest.

For some homeowners, this means pruning trees and taming overgrown gardens, for others it means cleaning the gutters or painting the house.

Many outdoor projects like these can be hazardous if you don’t put safety first, according to Pacific Power.

“Now is a great time to prune any trees that could cause trouble once the storms start coming in,” said Steve Harkin, Pacific Power safety director.

“Winter storms bringing down branches is a big cause of power outages. Check around your property if any trees or branches could harm power lines if they fell. Some preventive work now could save more headaches and power outages later.”

Harking suggested to use caution when pruning trees. Don’t use pruning tools or ladders near power lines. Always keep yourself and anything you’re handling at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines, he said.

Never try to remove a branch that is tangled or lying across a power line, said. Instead, call Pacific Power at 1-888-221-7070. They’ll be happy to remove it for you.

• Treat all electric lines with caution.

• Use only wooden and fiberglass ladders. Metal ladders conduct electricity.

• Never use electrical equipment or tools near a pool or other wet areas. Additionally, make sure outlets are equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter, designed to automatically disconnect if the tool comes into contact with water.

• Be aware and steer clear of overhead electrical wires when installing, removing, cleaning or repairing gutters.

• Have help when installing or adjusting a satellite dish or antenna. Make sure you’re working at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.

• Plant trees and shrubs away from meters, switching cabinets and boxed transformers. Vegetation blocking electrical equipment makes meter reading, repairs and maintenance challenging and sometimes dangerous for utility workers.

• Underground power lines are just as dangerous as overhead ones. If your project involves digging, make sure the locations of underground power lines are marked. Call 811 to have underground utilities located and marked for free.


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