Working for a safe, affordable, vibrant, innovative, and interconnected city.
Learn More
Seattle.gov Home Page
Seattle.gov This Department
Link to Seattle City Light Home Page Link to Seattle City Light Home Page Link to Seattle City Light About Us Page Link to Seattle City Light Contact Us Page
Lighting Seattle since 1905 Jorge Carrasco, Superintendent
Ross Dam

Current
SCL News Releases

Since January 2003


Archived
SCL News Releases

Prior to January 2003


Seattle City Light Newsroom

City of Seattle News Releases

News Release
  For Immediate Release: 9/1/1998
  Contact: ,
Phone:
Pager:
Email:
 
  Dramatic display of electrical hazard delivers shocking safety message
  Seattle--Seattle City Light presented a dramatic display of electrical power to show the hazards of making contact with live electric lines. The demonstration was intended to help local press convey an important safety message --urging consumers to stay safe around powerlines.

In the last few months, the municipal utility responded to several incidents after individuals made contact with energized electric lines. In such cases the person touching the equipment can become part of a 15,000 volt electric circuit. The resulting arc and fireball can be as hot as 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. These near electrocutions resulted in two very serious injuries.

Seattle City Light created a controlled electrical fault on a 31-foot high line which ignited into a fireball 20 feet wide. The flames and accompanying boom lasted for less than one second but was powerful enough to set off car alarms in the area and dramatic enough to be repeated several times on local and regional news outlets

Creating the environment to stage a demonstration of this type was far outside Seattle City Light employees' normal routine.

"We normally do everything possible to avoid creating electrical sparks, fires or any contacts with electric wires because it is so dangerous. However, the need to broadcast our powerline safety message was so important that we all wanted to create this dramatic special effect. It will be worth it if we can keep just one more person from contacting an energized line," says field safety coordinator Fred Morris.

Other messages stressed as part of the demonstration included:

  • Electric lines are perfectly safe if you keep your distance.
  • The lines that run to homes are insulated but it is not practical to insulate primary distribution wires.
  • The high voltage lines are placed high up on the poles for a good reason.
  • The higher the line is on the pole, the higher its voltage, increasing the hazard.
  • State law in Washington forbids approaching energized powerlines according to the line voltage. This "safety zone" is never less than 10 feet.



 

Current
SCL News Releases

Since January 2003


Archived
SCL News Releases

Prior to January 2003


Seattle City Light Newsroom

City of Seattle News Releases

Click here for more contact information! Customer Service
Call (206) 684-3000


The Seattle City Light Web Team:

Seattle City Light -- 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3200, Seattle, WA 98104-5031 -- 206.684.3000
Mailing address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3200, P.O. Box 34023 Seattle, WA 98124-4023