At Midwest Energy, safety of the public and our lineworkers is our top priority! Below is information about how you can stay safe when lines or poles come down, how to safely use portable gas generators when the power goes out, homeowner and customer equipment responsiblities, and more!
If you see a downed power line:
- Keep people and pets 30 feet from fallen power lines.
- NEVER touch or try to move a fallen power line, or anything or anyone in contact with the wire. It might be energized, and only a linemen with special testing equipment can know for sure.
- Do not drive over a fallen power line.
- Call Midwest Energy at 1-800-222-3121 immediately to report the downed power line.
If a power line touches your car:
- Stay inside! The safest place is in your car. The downed line may be energizing your car's body, and the ground around your car. Touching either can be deadly!
- Use your cell phone to call 911, and call Midwest Energy at 1-800-222-3121.
- Roll down your window to warn others to stay 30 feet away. Anyone who touches the car or walks on ground around the vehicle may be injured.
- Do not exit the vehicle until a line worker tells you it is safe to do so.
- If you must exit the vehicle due to fire, keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground. Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.
Using Portable Generators
When the power goes out due to storms, gas-powered portable generators can provide safety, comfort and security to your family or business. Unfortunately, not everyone understands the requirements for safe installation and operation of a generator. Knowing the hazards can prevent equipment damage, fires, serious injury and death.
- Backfeed is a dangerous condition that occurs when electricity produced from a portable generator feeds back through the electric meter. This ends up energizing the transformer in reverse of its normal operation. The most common cause of this is when a person plugs their generator output into a household wall outlet in hopes of energizing the other outlets throughout the home. A home's electrical system isn't built for this, and it can easily cause fires! If you want to safely power your home with a portable generator, have a licensed electrician install a double-throw switch.
- Generators burn petroleum-based fuels to produce electricity and their exhaust produces Carbon Monoxide (CO). This tasteless and odorless toxic gas is a by-product of incomplete combustion and can lead to CO poisoning. If proper installation and combustible air requirements are not met, serious injury and death can occur.
- Using a CO detector is recommended in all homes and businesses. If you suspect you have been exposed to CO, seek medical attention immediately.
Electric Safety Demonstrations
Each year, we educate thousands of children and adults about electrical safety at events like the Kansas State Fair, 4H gatherings and by request for small groups and special events. We have a portable high-voltage safety demonstration suitable for large groups, and a tabletop electric safety setup for smaller groups. If you’re interested in having a safety demonstration brought to your school or group, just call us at 1-800-222-3121.
Call 811 before you dig!
Gas, electric, water, telecommunications and sewer lines are just some of the utilities buried underground, sometimes at very shallow depths.
Before you move dirt for any reason – installing a sprinkler system, building a shed, even planting a tree – you should call Kansas One Call by dialing 811. When you call two business days in advance of digging, crews will locate and mark all underground utilities at no charge to you. By knowing what is below ground, you can save yourself the headache and expense of repairing any utility lines you could damage by digging into them.
Planting and trimming trees near powerlines
- Before you plant trees, look up to ensure they won’t grow into nearby power lines in coming years. (Also, don’t forget to call 811 before you dig so as not to dig into underground wires!).
- When pruning trees, ensure that branches won’t contact wires when you’re sawing, or when they’re falling. Kansas law prohibits unqualified persons from trimming trees within 10 feet of power lines. If in doubt, contact a professional tree service that has special equipment to safely work near wires.
- Midwest Energy trims trees around lines in our easements along roads and alleys on a four-year cycle. Service lines running from the pole to a home or business are the homeowner's responsiblity, but unqualified persons should never trim within 10 feet of energized power lines. Midwest Energy will temporarily lower service lines, free of charge, for homeowners who want to trim trees on their property. Call us at 1-800-222-3121 to schedule this service.
Electrical equipment near near your home
- Electrical substations are fenced areas housing transformers and switches, and can be located in residential or rural areas. If a pet, ball, drone or anything else enters a substation, do not enter the substation, as even getting close to equipment can cause a shock! Call Midwest Energy at 1-800-222-3121 and we’ll happily get your item for you.
- Keep children and pets away from pad-mounted transformers, found in many yards and alleys. Never allow children to climb on these, and never attempt to open one yourself! If you find one unlocked or damaged, please call us at 1-800-222-3121.
Co-op and Homeowner Equipment Responsiblities
The graphic below shows which entity - homeowner or Midwest Energy - owns and is responsible for the equipment that brings electricity into your home. If you have any questions, please call Midwest Energy at 1-800-222-3121.