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Look up but also look out for hidden hazards this bonfire night

Bonfire Night is traditionally a time for safety warnings about fireworks – but revellers are being urged to remember other dangers that could spoil the celebrations.

From Press releases - 20 October 2014 12:00 AM

Bonfire Night is traditionally a time for safety warnings about fireworks – but revellers are being urged to remember other dangers that could spoil the celebrations.

Bonfire builders and firework launchers are also being asked to be aware of nearby overhead power lines and substations.

UK Power Networks – which distributes electricity in the South East, London and the East of England – is advising organisers to build bonfires a safe distance away from overhead lines and substations.

This is to make sure smoke and heat from bonfires don’t cause electrical arcing or sparking.

Murdo Allan, director of health, safety and sustainability at UK Power Networks, said: “We always urge people to be vigilant when they are out and about, enjoying the outdoors, as they often won’t be aware how close they are to our electrical equipment.

“When we’re having fun it isn’t always obvious to see the risks. Our advice is always to look out, look up and be completely aware of what is around you. With events like this, planning ahead in daylight, when it is easier to spot potential hazards, is a good way to keep everyone safe, while having a great time.”

Other important guidelines to follow include:

• Keeping fireworks and bonfires clear of hidden hazards, such as trees which might have electricity lines running close to them – electricity can jump gaps

• Although the electricity networks are robust, fireworks have the potential to damage equipment and disrupt supplies

• Those installing temporary lighting for their event are encouraged to keep a careful eye out for overhead lines to avoid bringing ladders or scaffolding close to the lines

• Power lines look similar to telephone wires so it is always best to err on the side of caution


Electricity systems carry voltages up to 400,000 volts but even a domestic supply of 230 volts can be lethal.
 
If anything does make contact with an overhead power line, customers are advised not to retrieve it and instead to contact UK Power Networks immediately on its 24-hour helpline number 0800 783 8838 (East of England) or 0800 783 8866 (South East).

UK Power Networks operates approximately 46,800km of overhead lines in the East and South East of England which deliver power to homes and businesses across the region.

They can carry up to 132,000 volts and the consequences of coming into contact with such equipment can be fatal.

Safety information and downloadable leaflets are available on UK Power Networks’ website:
http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/safety/safety-downloads