Many power line, pole contacts reported in Sask.

SaskPower has already reported nearly 40 incidents this spring of farm equipment contacting power lines or poles.

This week, about 9,300 customers were left without power in the Lanigan and Dafoe areas after an auger contacted a 72,000-volt distribution line. No one was hurt but a small grass fire started as a result.

The corporation also said a farmer left an air seeder after hitting a power pole near Danielson Provincial Park, which could have had deadly consequences.

Spokesperson Scott McGregor said farmers should always stay in their vehicles when this happens.

“You don’t know if the line is still live or if the chassis of your vehicle is live,” he said.

“If you’re OK, then where you are is the safest place to be.”

McGregor said there are just too many uncertainties around different types of accidents and the lines themselves to know if it’s safe to exit.

Farmers should stay put and call SaskPower.

“Obviously if you’re heading out to a place with a known dead spot, make sure someone knows where you are,” he said regarding cellphone service.

SGI recommends all farmers carry fire extinguishers in their equipment cabs. If a fire begins after a power line accident and becomes so severe that it warrants exit, the operator should jump out the door, as far away as possible, without touching anything on the way and making sure not to touch equipment after landing on the ground.

No injuries have been reported this year, nor were there any last year, although SaskPower reported 327 incidents of farm equipment contacting poles or lines.

The corporation recommends farmers locate overhead power lines before starting any work and keeping a safe distance from them.

Large equipment such as augers, air seeders and sprayers should be lowered to prevent contact with lines.

As well, farmers should contact utility companies before digging to make sure that underground lines are not disrupted.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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