With files from Scott Boulton
With seeding beginning for many farmers, they're looking to get their product into the ground while racing machinery across their fields.
Fatigue can be a problem during those long days, with that leading to farmers making mistakes. In the case of power lines, those can be deadly.
That's why SaskPower is bringing their Look Up and Live program back, to remind farmers to be aware of power lines and their height.
Media Spokesperson for SaskPower, Scott McGregor, talks about how to be safe while out in the fields.
“More and more farmers are out in the fields right now, seeding, spraying, getting everything ready to go for this year's growing season. We just want to remind farmers, producers, anyone operating large and heavy machinery in your power lines to do so with extreme caution. We see roughly around 300 line contacts involving farm equipment every year and we want to make sure that everyone's taking the right steps to prevent these contacts from happening.”
McGregor then explained what to do when you contact a line.
"Whenever operating large machinery around power lines, there's always the chance that a line contact may occur. If that should happen, what most people should do is stay in their vehicle. If it starts a fire, then by all means you should probably exit the vehicle safely. But, if at all possible, if it's safe to do so, stay in your vehicle and give our centre a call at 310-2220, if it's an emergency call 911."
To exit a vehicle near a downed power line safely, McGregor tells people to jump away from the vehicle and the power line as far as they can with their arms folded on their chest with both feet together, then hop away from the vehicle at least 10 meters.
McGregor also gave some more tips on how to stay safe anytime farmers are in the fields near powerlines.
“One of those important steps you can take to get out there and work safely is to plan your route ahead of time. We have a useful map on our website, and it shows every single piece of power line infrastructure in the province.”
SaskPower routinely sees an increase in line contacts involving farm equipment in the spring and in the fall, with 248 reported last year.
One of the best ways to get that number down is to make a plan to prevent those contacts.
"If possible, take as many breaks as you can and make sure you're well rested and alert," said McGregor, "and in the best shape you possibly can be to operate around those power lines."
SaskPower also has a map available on their website that details all the power lines in Saskatchewan, to help that planning process.
You can find that and other resources on their Look Up and Live page.