Working outside this weekend? Keep it clear for safety

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With the sun out and the snow gone, many of us are turning our attention outdoors and starting to plan our landscaping. What’s probably not top of mind is the electrical lines and equipment around your home and how your gardening plans can pose some serious safety hazards.

So before you pick out your shrubs and prep your yard tools for the season, keep these things in mind:

Access to equipment is vital for reliable and safe energy

You’ve probably seen those green or grey metal boxes around your neighborhood. You may even have one on or near your property.

But did you know that blocking or concealing this equipment could be dangerous for both the workers that need to access it and for you and your family?

These boxes are part of your neighborhood’s connection to the electrical grid and much like a fire hydrant, needs to be quickly accessed during a house fire.

Before firefighters enter your home and start spraying, they need to be sure that the electricity is completely shut off. This may mean that DTE crews will need to access this box and disconnect the power. Obstructions can make it hard for workers to locate equipment and it creates obstacles, all of which prolong the process.

To ensure safety, keep at least eight feet of clearance at the front of the equipment and two feet on all other sides. This allows crews to safely access the inside of the equipment for maintenance and restoration, and during emergencies.

Clearing trees and brush from electrical lines is best left to professionals

Any type of tree trimming can be dangerous, but it is especially hazardous when electrical lines are involved. Coming into contact with electrical lines can cause serious, or even fatal injuries.

DTE Energy maintains regular trim maintenance on the trees along the main distribution system, or the wires that run pole to pole. However, your service drop, or the line running from the pole to the house, is outside of our trimming area.

If you plan to trim or remove trees on or near a powerline, we recommend calling in the professionals. Professional tree trimmers can help you safely and effectively remove unwanted limbs and vegetation.

Call Miss Dig before your shovel hits the ground

Overhead is not the only place to look for electrical lines. These lines, along with other important utility lines, may be buried just below that new flowerbed of yours. Accidentally hitting those lines could not only cause an outage, but could be dangerous.

So whether you’re digging for a new fence or just planting a tree, dial 811 or visit missdig.org to have MISS DIG flag your property for utility lines.