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Public urged to stay safe on staycations

The UK’s biggest electricity distributor has warned holidaymakers to stay safe on staycation this summer.

From Press releases - 5 August 2020 09:00 AM

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With many families opting against overseas breaks amid the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of travel to more countries requiring quarantine on return, more people than ever are planning on staying within the UK.

UK Power Networks, which distributes electricity to 8.3 million customers across London, the South East and East of England, is concerned this could see people trying out leisure activities they are not used to, such as camping and fishing – unaware the potential dangers.

The company is urging those heading for the great outdoors who might be more accustomed to relaxing in a Spanish hotel, to ‘Look Out and Look Up’ to make sure they are not setting up camp near any overhead power lines.

A short safety film can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf7yqU0wWM0, covering camping, fishing and ballooning and the animations show worst case scenarios, followed by safe practices.

Emma Palmer, who heads up safety communications at UK Power Networks, cautioned that as well as being careful where they place tent poles, holidaymakers must also be wary where they start campfires or tie washing lines and take time to look around them at their surroundings.

Emma said: “The number of people planning staycations in the coming weeks is at a record high because of the reduction in foreign travel and that mean families at home instead of a hotel abroad might try recreational pursuits they haven’t done before.

“Camping and caravanning are fantastic ways to enjoy the great outdoors and we want everyone to enjoy their summer safely. The same applies to all recreational pursuits families will try during their staycations such as fishing. 

“Overhead power lines are far more common in the countryside than towns and much of the equipment associated with camping and caravanning can easily conduct electricity so it is always wise to ‘Look Out and Look Up’ first and then follow some simple guidelines. Cables and power lines can carry anything from 230 volts to 132,000 volts and even coming into contact with the lowest voltage cables can be fatal.”

Key advice includes:

  • If possible avoid pitching tents or caravans directly under or close to an overhead power line
  • Be aware of overhead lines when erecting TV aerials or radio masts next to mobile homes or fixed caravans
  • Metal and carbon fibre tent poles, guy ropes, TV aerials and other long objects can conduct electricity. Electricity can jump across gaps so always carry them horizontally and parallel with the ground
  • Never attach or tie anything to electricity poles, pylons or electrical equipment
  • Never light a fire under an overhead line, heat from the fire could cause the wires to sag or break

Further safety advice can also be found on the UK Power Networks website here while any emergency incident or damaged cable can be reported by dialing 105.