DEC Crews Remove Farmer From Danger

Recently, a Dakota Energy power pole was hit and fell onto a tractor. When the report was made, Matt Zomer, Dakota Energy Manager of Operations, told the farmer to remain in the tractor until a Dakota Energy crew could arrive to help. “Anytime you hit a power pole, guywire, power line, electrical box or any other electrical equipment, do not get out of the cab until utility crews can make sure it is safe to exit.” Zomer said. The only reason to exit the vehicle before utility crews arrive is if the vehicle is on fire. If this is the case, jump out of the vehicle with your feet together and without touching the ground and the vehicle at the same time. After you’re free from the vehicle, keeping your feet together, hop at least forty (40) feet to safety.


  • If your vehicle encounters a power line, do not get out. If your vehicle makes contact with a live line, it becomes a pathway to ground and you could get electrocuted if you step out. Instead, stay where you are and call 9-1-1 to dispatch the appropriate utility to de-energize the power.
  • If you come across an accident or incident near a downed power line, alert individuals (from a distance) to stay in the tractor or vehicle if there is no imminent danger. Do not approach the scene.
  • When using machinery with long extensions or tall antennas and when using ladders, look up to avoid contact with overhead power lines.
  • Always keep equipment at least ten (10) feet from surrounding power lines. Even if there is no contact, an electrical current can jump or arc. Remember, even non-metallic materials (such as tree limbs, ropes, and hay) can conduct electricity, depending on dampness and dust accumulation.
  • Visually inspect overhead lines, which may not meet height codes due to age or pole damage. If a wire is hanging low or is on the ground, consider it energized and stay at least fifty (50) feet away; call 9-1-1 to have the operator dispatch the utility.
  • Every day, map out where equipment will be moved to ensure it will not interfere with power lines.
  • When working in the vicinity of power lines, always use a spotter who has a broad vantage point. In the case of the recent pole vs. tractor incident described above, the line was still energized when the line crew arrived. Crews cut power to remove the pole from the tractor. Fortunately, the person involved in the recent incident with the tractor and pole remained in the tractor and
    is safe.