Despite being a crucial part of everyday life, electricity can be very dangerous. According to a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), approximately 1000 deaths in the United States are due to electrical injuries. Out of this thousand, 400 are a result of High-Voltage electrical injuries, especially from power lines and utility poles.
This report by the NCBI puts into hindsight the danger that these utility poles and power lines pose to people. Learn more about electricity poles and how dangerous they are to you and your family.
What is on a Utility Pole
Every utility pole comes with at least four components, which allow it to transfer electricity. Here are those four components.
- Transformer: The transformer is the large canister that you would find on a utility pole. It transforms high voltage electricity into low voltage electricity for distribution.
- Transmission Wires: Transmission wires bring the electricity to the transformer to reduce the voltage. They carry electricity at 70 to 400 kilovolts in order to reach the substation.
- Communication Lines: These are wires that carry broadband, telephone, and television to houses.
- Distribution Wires: After sending the electricity to the transformer, these lines transfer all of the electricity to homes. They transfer the electricity between 5 and 25 kilovolts.
Dangers of Utility Poles
Older wires can run into a problem where the insulation around the wires eventually degrades overtime. This degradation exposes the wires and can lead to voltage slipping into the ground. This stray electricity can travel while it is in the ground, moving to various metallic objects in its surroundings. Maintenance hole covers, fire hydrants, electricity poles, and street lights are just a few of the objects that further transfer stray voltage. Coming into contact with these objects can send a rattling shock through one’s body, incapacitating them, or even killing them.
Power lines carry a lot of electricity through them. Even though this is a significantly lower voltage than that produced, it is still enough to cause serious damage. Wires breaking open and coming in contact with a civilian can rupture their organs or even lead to death. This is especially bad when these wires connect to puddles of water, as these puddles become death traps for unaware pedestrians.
While most utility poles are made of steel and metal, some still use wooden poles as they don’t conduct electricity. However, to preserve the wood and keep it safe from insects, companies have to apply preservatives to the wood. The harmful ingredients present in preservatives can harm people and the environment.
Utility poles are very sturdy and can withstand a lot of damage that the elements can throw at them. That said, there are times when the poles take too much damage and eventually crack. Whether it was a storm or the insects, these posts can start to tilt, throwing down all of its components. The transformer can cause very serious property damage as well as serious bodily harm.