Staying safe during the springtime and what to know before you dig

SALT LAKE CITY — As the weather continues to warm up, people will be spending more time outdoors working, playing and taking care of projects in their yards. With the shift to sunshine and springtime, Rocky Mountain Power reminds everyone to stay safe by remaining alert and being aware of electrical equipment – particularly overhead and underground power lines – during the course of outdoor activities.

“While electricity is an important part of our daily lives, it also is unforgiving and can cause serious injury or death if safety precautions aren’t properly observed,” said Jeremy Gee, Rocky Mountain Power Managing Director of Health & Safety. “Because even momentary electrical contact can have devastating results, your best protection while working or playing outdoors is to always stay alert and be aware of the location of overhead and underground power lines. Avoid doing anything that could potentially lead to contact between yourself or an object you’re touching and a power line.”

Never try to move or go near a downed wire and always assume a downed wire is energized and dangerous, even if it isn’t sparking. Touching a live line or anything near it – like a fence or puddle – can cause electricity to flow through your body, resulting in serious injury or death.

Rocky Mountain Power makes it part of its mission to raise awareness about potential electrical safety hazards. The company provides electrical safety information to customers through bill inserts, safety advertisements and information on its website.

While electric safety is an issue above ground, it can also be a concern below the surface. In America, someone risks their life every six seconds by striking an underground utility line. In an effort to change this alarming statistic, Rocky Mountain Power urges customers to protect themselves and their families with one simple act:  dial 8-1-1 two days before doing any digging.

“Installing a mailbox or post for a deck or planting a tree are among the many commonplace projects that should trigger a call to 8-1-1,” said Gee, referring to the national Call Before You Dig toll-free phone number. “Those may seem like simple, harmless maintenance projects, but the hazards are very real. If you hit a buried electric line, you could die. It’s that simple.”

If you don’t know where electric lines are buried prior to starting a project, you are putting yourself in danger. Even if you are lucky enough to not be harmed, you could be responsible for causing a service outage in your neighborhood —and potentially be responsible for the substantial repair costs.

Before planning a job that requires digging, even if hiring a professional, a call to 8-1-1 is required before work begins. The 8-1-1 service is a free Federal Communications Commission-designated national one-call number that connects a caller from anywhere in the country to the appropriate local one-call center that alerts local underground facility owners so they can mark the approximate location of their lines with paint or flags.

To learn more about electrical safety or to order free electrical safety materials, call Rocky Mountain Power at 888-221-7070 or visit