Kites and Power Lines Don’t Mix
May 31, 2012
PORTLAND, Ore.—On a breezy June day in the Northwest, there may seem to be a million kites in the air. That’s a lot of fun at the end of a string, but it also means at least 2 million eyes need to be focused on safety when those colorful miracles are aloft.
Kite flying, a hobby dating back long before power lines, can be dangerous or even fatal if the kite contacts an energized line. That is because electrical currents always seek the quickest route to the ground, and a kite string that is wet, dirty or contains metal or any other conductive material can detour the electricity from the power line to the ground, using the string – and the kite flier – as conductors.
Keep these safety tips in mind next time you pull out the kites:
- Fly kites only in open areas, away from power poles, overhead power lines, substations, trees and other obstacles.
- Use only cotton, linen or nylon string, never metal, wire or wire-reinforced string. Wet string is also dangerous.
- Only fly kites in dry weather. And, never fly a kite during an electrical storm.
- If a kite is caught in a tree, check to make certain there aren’t any power lines near the tree before climbing it.
- If a kite does get caught in overhead power lines, release the string at once. Do not pull the string or climb the power pole to retrieve the kite.
- And, NEVER attempt to retrieve a kite caught in a power line or that falls into a substation. Instead, call Pacific Power, toll-free 1-888-221-7070.
The Kiteman Legacy of Fun—and Safety
While Pacific Power takes kite safety seriously, we know that there is nothing like flying a kite for pure fun. That’s why the company first created the Kiteman character in 1978 as part of a kite safety campaign, and he continues to have a surprisingly loyal, nostalgic following. To the joy of Kiteman fans, the old TV commercial footage was located in 2011, and is posted along with his kite safety messages at www.pacificpower.net/kiteman. To his fans, the term “I like frogs” is forever entwined with that funny-looking Kiteman.
To learn more about electrical safety, visit www.pacificpower.net/safety.
About Pacific Power
Pacific Power is headquartered in Portland, and provides electric service to more than 730,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. It is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, providing 1.7 million customers with value for their energy dollar and safe, reliable electricity. In 2010, Pacific Power celebrated 100 years serving customers and communities, including many along the windy Oregon coast. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net.