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Seeding Season Safety

Over the past year there were 90 reported incidents of farm equipment contacting overhead power lines in Manitoba. Forty per cent of these contacts were with cultivators.

Farm injuries can have devastating effects, both emotionally and economically, to producers and their families. And most injuries are predictable and preventable when people know what to look for and how to minimize farm hazards.

If you have overhead power lines on your farm, consider burying them. Manitoba Hydro’s Go Underground Program compensates a portion of the costs related to moving the primary power line underground in farm yards.

Buried power lines:

  • eliminate the danger of farm equipment coming in contact with overhead power lines;
  • prevent the possibility of lines coming down in storms;
  • improve the appearance of the farm yard.

Discuss power line safety with everyone who works on the farm:

Plan your route ahead of time. Do you know the height of a power line can change depending on the temperature outside, the load it’s carrying, and whether it is windy or calm? Cultivators, air seeders and grain augers are at high risk for contact with overhead power lines. If you can’t avoid passing under a power line, proceed cautiously and check constantly to make sure your machinery is a safe distance away from the power line.

Never attempt to move a power line out of the way. Only properly trained and equipped Manitoba Hydro employees can safely lift power lines.

Never transport metal elevators, ladders or irrigation pipes near power lines. Farm equipment is a good conductor of electricity and a power line can flash or arc at a considerable distance even without direct contact to the power line. If your equipment or load exceeds 15 feet 9 inches or 4.8 metres, obtain an agricultural move permit from Manitoba Hydro.

Visit to find out more information about farm safety and our Go Underground Program.

Prepared by Linda Carter, PHEc Public Safety & Education Coordinator, Manitoba Hydro

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What to do if You Encounter a Downed Power Line

Do you know what to do if you encounter a downed power line?

Picture it. There’s a winter storm and snow and ice has built up on the road, trees and power lines. Your car slides into a hydro pole and an ice-laden power line comes down. Contact with a downed power line can be fatal. Would you know what to do?

Follow these steps:

• Stay where you are as it may be dangerous to exit the vehicle.

• Back the vehicle well away from contact with the line if it’s safe to do so. • Warn others to stay clear of the power line.

• Call Manitoba Hydro at 1-888-624-9376 to de-energize the line.

If it is not safe for you to stay in the vehicle due to fire or other immediate danger, do not simply step out of the vehicle as your body can make a path for electricity to the ground, electrocuting you. Exit the vehicle by following these steps:

• Keep your feet together.

• Hold your arms tightly at your sides.

• Jump without touching the vehicle and ground at the same time.

• With your feet together, shuffle or hop away from the downed line.

Other life-saving tips to be aware of regarding a downed pole or power line:

• Never try to move a downed line out of your way using any type of object. Since improper handling can result in serious injury or death, this job must be left in the hands of trained professionals.

• Assume all downed lines are energized and dangerous. Keep 10 metres away (about the length of a bus) from a downed line and any other object the line may be touching, including water and fences.

• Report a downed power line immediately to Manitoba Hydro or to the police and warn others to stay away. Stay clear of low or sagging power lines. Travelling under or near these lines can be dangerous.

To learn more about electrical safety, visit

Prepared by Linda Carter, PHEc Public Safety & Education Coordinator, Manitoba Hydro

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Winter Power Outage Safety

If the lights go out this winter…

Winter is unpredictable and storms can disrupt electrical service without warning. Your power may be off for a few hours or, in extreme cases, a few days. Be prepared in case your power goes out this winter.

• Assemble an emergency kit and store it where it will be easy to find in the dark. Include items like a flashlight with extra batteries, candles, matches and a portable radio.

• If your power goes out, check if your neighbours have electricity. If they have power, check all fuses or circuit breakers to rule out electricity issues inside your home.

• Once you’re sure it’s an outage, report it to Manitoba Hydro at 1-888-MBHYDRO.

• If you use a mobile device, you can follow Manitoba Hydro on Twitter to receive power outage updates.

• Never use a barbecue or generator while indoors or in a confined space. They can create dangerous levels of toxic carbon monoxide very quickly. This also applies to any other fuelburning equipment that is not connected to a chimney or vent.

• Turn off all electrical appliances when your power goes out. Pay special attention to those you may have been using when the power went out – like the stove or oven.

• Unplug electronic equipment to protect it from a voltage surge when power is restored.

• Keep one light turned on, so you will know when the electricity is back on.

• If you see a downed power line, report it to Manitoba Hydro immediately.

• Know that in the event of a power outage, emergency crews are working as quickly as possible to restore your electrical service.

For more tips on how to prepare for a power outage, visit

Prepared by Linda Carter, PHEc Public Safety & Education Coordinator, Manitoba Hydro

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