All News

As farmers are busy planting fields, Sumter EMC urges farm workers to be particularly alert to the dangers of working near overhead power lines. Electricity is one of the most overlooked yet deadly hazards of working on a farm.   

Always follow safe work practices to prevent such tragic accidents. Start by ensuring everyone knows to maintain a minimum 10-foot clearance from power lines. “The minimum 10-foot distance is a 360-degree rule—below, to the side, and above lines,” says Sumter EMC’s Safety Engineer, Caleb Broome. “It can be difficult to estimate distance, and sometimes a power line is closer than it looks. A spotter or someone with a broader view can help.” If you spot a Sumter EMC power line you suspect is sagging and too low, please get in touch with us immediately at 229-924-8041 so a trained Sumter EMC employee can safely inspect it and raise it if needed. 

Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting tractors on trailer beds. Many tractors come equipped with radios and communications systems with tall antennas extending from the cab to contact power lines. Avoid raising the arms of planters or cultivators or raising truck beds near power lines, and never attempt to lift or move a power line to clear a path. Coming too close to a power line while working is dangerous as electricity can arc or “jump” to conducting material or objects, such as a ladder, pole, or truck. Remember, non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes, and hay will conduct electricity depending on dampness, dust, and dirt contamination.  

When there are broken guy wires (grounded wires used to stabilize utility poles), do not attempt to fix them yourself. If your large farm equipment hits a guy wire and damages or even breaks it, call the utility company to fix it.  

“If your equipment does come into contact with power lines, stay in the cab and call for help,” explains Broome. “If the power line is energized and you step outside, your body becomes the path to the ground. Even if a line has landed on the ground, there is still potential for the area to be energized. So, warn others nearby to stay away and wait until the electric utility arrives.”  

“If leaving the cab is necessary, as in the case of fire, the proper action is to jump—not step—with both feet hitting the ground simultaneously,” Broome advises. “Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground simultaneously. Instead, hop to safety, keeping both feet together as you leave the area.” Once you get away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch the equipment before the power has been shut off.   

Sumter EMC wishes our farmers a successful and safe planting season.  If an accident happens with Sumter EMC lines, contact us immediately at 229-924-8041.  

For more electrical safety information, visit