23 accidents in 26 days

Dakota Valley and Northern Plains Electric Cooperatives are trying to get the word out about farm safety before harvest begins. With the hurry of the short planing season, 23 accidents were reported in only four weeks (May 16-June 11) between the two cooperatives. Already this year, we’ve had 101 accidents. In all of last year, we had 105.

I’d like to say this year is just an anomaly, but unfortunately, it’s an alarming trend. Since 2009, we’ve seen an increase in accidents. I’m sure you already know, tangling with 7,200 volts can have serious and fatal consequences.

We know most farmers are trying to do their best, but in some cases, farmers admitted they didn’t notice the poles because they were reading the newspaper or playing games on their Smartphones.The thrill of Angry Birds can sure shock those who play it, but is it worth the risk of 7,200 volts?
We joke, but truly, these accidents are no laughing matter. No injuries have been reported so far this year, thank goodness. But, last year we had one contact and even one fatality. Clearly, mitigating these accidents, and raising awareness of what to do if one does occur, is a high priority for the cooperatives as well as the families involved.

If you do run into wires, here’s what you do:

* CALL YOUR ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE: If it’s Northern Plains or Dakota Valley, the numbers are 1-800-882-2500 and 1-800-342-467, respectively.

* DON’T GET OUT: Unless there’s a risk of fire or imminent danger, stay put. If you must exit the vehicle, jump clear of it. Hop away with both feet together.

* HANDS OFF: Don’t touch any machine connected to a power line and keep others away until a lineman disconnects the service.

So as harvest begins, please remember: Look Up and Live. And call if you have questions or concerns: 1-800-342-467. We care about you. Come home safe