One decent sized tree + water soaked ground + wind
= down tree on wires
Unseen from the tree, primary on cable guard rail
- Wires (primary or secondary) on guard rails will energize them for the entire run (touch potential) and energize the ground at every post (step potential)
- Tree was energized (touch and step potential)
- Damaged pole was energized (step and touch potential)
Lessons to Be Learned
- During storms or pole-damaging events (such as car hits), hazards can be hiding around a corner or over a hill.
- Block off roads with down wires beyond the end of guard rail runs.
- Even if wires are still up on the pole, they could have been pulled out of the insulators and are energizing the poles.
- Phone and cable wires will ALWAYS be energized; they have battery back-up power systems.
- Never trust any wire to be safe.
- Phone and cable wires have a tremendous amount of stored energy; leave the tree removal to the utility crews.