The sight of combines and grain trucks on roadways means harvest time, and SaskPower is reminding producers to be safe, especially around power lines this season.
As of August 8th, SaskPower has recorded 187 incidents involving farm equipment, up from 169 incidents on the same day last year.
Spokesperson for SaskPower Scott MacGregor says there could be multiple factors involved in those incidents.
“Could be that the seeding season started at different times, maybe harvest in some places started earlier, it could be that there are bigger implements out there, it could be any number of things,” MacGregor said. “We’re not really going to know the full picture of this farming season shook out in terms of line contacts until later on after all the crops are off the field.”
He says they usually see an increase in incidents in the spring and fall.
SaskPower is sharing tips to prevent equipment from coming into contact with power lines. One of them is ensuring farmers have a plan.
MacGregor recommends planning a route in advance, and if possible, use a spotter when operating large equipment to ensure a power line doesn’t get hit.
“Some of these implements, they’re only driven 2 to 3 weeks out of the year sometimes, so it’s hard to get that unconscious knowledge of how big the vehicle is, especially when you’re operating it in tight spaces around power lines,” he said. “Staying alert is really the most important thing you can do to stay safe during harvest.”
The Crown Corporation also recommends using the “Look Up and Live” map on their website, which shows the location of power poles in the province.
MacGregor has heard positive feedback from farmers who do utilize the online map.
Another point is knowing what to do in the event of a fire, hitting a power line, or an emergency.
The provincial power company says if there is contact with a power line, remain in the vehicle and call the SaskPower Outage Centre at 310-2220.
They add operators should only leave the vehicle in the event of a fire or emergency, using the exit procedure:
- Swing the vehicle door wide open, being sure to not touch the outside of the vehicle.
- Make sure no wires are in your way.
- Stand in the doorway of the vehicle, cross your arms in front of your chest and put your feet together.
- Jump as far from the vehicle as possible, making sure you don’t touch the outside of the vehicle. Land with your feet together.
- With your arms still crossed and feet together, hop away from the vehicle (at least 10 metres).
- Call 911 immediately.
SaskPower also says “under no circumstances should you return to your vehicle until SaskPower has confirmed the area is safe.”