Member newsletter for Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative

Summer safety tips

Overhead power lines carry high voltages and maintain only a coating of insulation to protect them from weathering. If your body or anything you are touching comes in contact with the power line, the results could be fatal. Electricity will course through your equipment and you, and that current can heat up and burn the tissue inside the body. If you become the easiest path to ground, the results could be deadly.

  • If you are doing any work close to power lines—such as trimming trees, working on your roof, or doing exterior renovations—keep yourself, your ladder, and anything you are handling a safe distance from the power line.
  • Keep ladders, pool skimmers, and pruning tools away from overhead lines.
    If a tree is in contact with an overhead power line and you attempt to remove the tree, you can become the easiest path to the ground.
  • Contact SMECO to disconnect power if you are doing work that requires close contact with overhead lines attached to your home.
  • Use a licensed electrician for all electrical work in and around your home or business.
  • Plant trees at least 30 feet from overhead lines.
  • In addition to overhead lines, SMECO has many underground electric lines. Call Miss Utility at 811 before you dig to have underground utilities marked.

Water safety tip: When sailing, beware of overhead power lines.

Make sure that your sailboat has proper clearance from any power lines that may cross over waterways or launching ramps. The boat’s mast must never make contact with overhead lines.

For more safety tips, visit