LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Southwestern Electric Power Co is helping the public with their fall outdoor projects by providing some safety tips to keep in mind when working on these projects.

SWEPCO says knowing what to do before you begin a project outdoors not only can help prevent serious injury or death but can help you avoid possible fines, high repair costs and power outages.

Here are some tips you should follow when embarking on projects:

Call 811 before you dig

If you plan to do any digging, remember to call 811 at least 48 hours before digging. Our SWEPCO team will mark the location of utility lines owned by the company, helping you avoid serious injury or expensive penalties.

Plant trees in the right place

When planting trees in your yard, avoid problems in the future by thinking about whether the trees will interfere with power lines as they grow. Be sure to select low-growing trees or shrubs that will not touch the overhead lines when they grow. If you’re planting near a transformer, keep a distance of 10 feet from any side and include an opening. Our crews need space to safely open the transformer when working on underground power lines.

Tree trimming safety and responsibility

Property owners are responsible for keeping trees from growing close to the wire that runs from our pole to their house or office. Contact us at least two business days in advance of any tree trimming needs near the line, and we’ll disconnect the service line for your safety. Remember to NOT use a metal ladder and keep your wood or fiberglass ladder at least 10 feet away from power lines.

SWEPCO is responsible for cutting back trees near power lines along public streets and roads and some private properties. If you see trees growing close to our power lines, call us at 1.888.216.3523.

Watch for overhead lines

If you’re using a ladder to clean your gutters or clean the side of your home, keep equipment and yourself at least 10 feet away from power lines. Only use clean, dry, wooden or fiberglass ladders. Anyone using a metal or aluminum ladder near energized power lines are at risk of electrocution. If you need to get near the line coming into your house or office from our pole, contact us at least two business days in advance, and we’ll disconnect the service for your safety.

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