Safety

Safety is a core value at LES because we know how dangerous electricity can be. It's important to stay safe when working around electricity. See our tips below for when working around your home, power lines and equipment, and tree trimming and landscaping. 

 

Home safety
Emergency kit

We live in Nebraska, which means we live with severe weather. LES urges customers to prepare by putting together a basic emergency kit that includes bottled water and nonperishable food items, a flashlight or lantern and a way to stay informed (backup power bank for cellphones and a battery-operated radio or TV).

 

Indoor safety
  • Always verify your appliances carry the Underwriters Laboratories seal of approval.
  • Be EXTRA cautious when near both water and electricity. Never touch an appliance and a water faucet at the same time, and never use any electrical appliance while standing on a wet floor.
  • Unplug any appliance that sparks, smokes or suddenly stops running.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use.
  • Insert plastic plugs in unused outlets.
  • Remove plugs from wall outlets by pulling on the plug, not the cord. Otherwise, you could damage the cord or the outlet.
  • Inspect all electrical cords for signs of wear or broken insulation, especially near plugs.
Outdoor safety
  • Never climb in trees or build tree houses near overhead power lines.
  • Don’t fly kites, model airplanes or drones near overhead power lines.
  • Never remove anything that gets entangled in overhead power lines, on a pole or in a tree near power lines. Call LES PowerLine at 1.888.365.2412 for removal.
  • Teach kids to stay away from electric utility facilities and not to climb fences around these facilities.
  • If you are planning to dig in an area that may have underground power lines, call Nebraska811 at 811 or 1.800.331.5666 so the location of the buried power lines can be marked for you. You also can request locates online.
  • Keep ladders, antennas and poles away from the power lines leading to the house.
  • If a power line hits your car, stay inside unless the car catches fire. Then, jump clear without touching the car and ground at the same time.
Generators
  • Connecting a generator properly to your home or building is CRITICAL. Doing it incorrectly is dangerous and can be deadly to you and lineworkers helping to restore your power. The only safe — and legal — way to connect your generator is through a properly installed “double throw switch.” Contact an electrician to learn more.
  • Your home generator should be installed by a QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN and bear the mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as UL, Intertek or CSA.
  • You are required to notify LES of your generator installation so LES can approve the final wiring before you put the generator into service. Access the requirements, agreement and application
  • Read all operating instructions and manufacturer warnings before using the equipment. If the information is unclear, contact the manufacturer or dealer.
  • Connect only those appliances needed during an outage directly into the generator.
  • Your city or county building department must inspect any generator that is permanently installed.
  • Never operate a generator while standing in water.
  • NEVER operate a generator inside enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, including your home or garage.
  • Install battery-operated CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS or plug-in alarms with a battery backup.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends generators be positioned at least 20 FEET from doors, windows and vents to prevent carbon monoxide from entering the home.
  • Make sure your generator is properly grounded and used with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, or GFCI.
  • Generators are TEMPORARY power sources and should not be used as a permanent solution.
  • NEVER connect generators directly to household wiring without first installing a transfer switch. This prevents back feeding which could injure utility workers making repairs.
  • Use only three-pronged plugs that are rated for the intended load.
  • Do NOT overload the generator.
Fire safety
  • If an electrical fire starts at a wall outlet, dial 911 to report the emergency. Give your address and tell them it’s an electrical fire.
    • If the fire is small, use your home CO2 fire extinguisher. Never put water on an electrical fire.
    • If in doubt, get out and take everyone with you.
  • If an electrical fire starts in your home, do not use water to extinguish it. Water conducts electricity, and you could get an electric shock. Use an extinguisher that is approved for use on electrical fires.
  • Flickering lights and warm, cracked or sparking outlets all indicate electrical problems.
  • If circuits trip, fuses blow or someone gets a shock, your home has an electrical problem. Get an electrical inspection.
  • Do not overload outlets, use an extension cord as a permanent wiring solution or use light bulbs that are not rated for the socket.
Pool safety

Families looking for fun summer activities may consider purchasing a backyard pool. Pool safety is important to ensuring a fun experience for the entire family. An important, but sometimes overlooked aspect of pool safety, is considering power lines before investing in a pool.  

If installing an in-ground or above-ground pool, take these steps to ensure your safety and compliance with electrical codes:

  • Call 811
    Before adding a backyard pool — or digging — call 811 to have all below-ground utility lines marked. Even if your pool is above ground and won’t require digging, knowing where those lines are located will allow you to place your pool at least 5 feet away from them. Failing to do so would violate electrical codes and could represent a safety hazard for your family or crews and could impact LES' ability to access lines in the case of an outage.
     
  • Look up
    If your electrical lines are overhead, avoid placing your pool near those lines. Clearance requirements of 22 feet exist in part to protect family members from accidentally touching a power line with a skimmer pole. If a strong storm would cause overhead lines to be damaged, having your pool located 22 feet away also would help keep utility crews safe when restoring power.
     
  • Contact LES
    If you are purchasing a pool but are unsure if you are meeting safety codes, you can always contact a licensed electrician or LES to verify. Simply email customerservice@les.com or call 402.475.4211.
     
  • General pool safety
    In addition to electrical safety, there are other city codes and water safety guidelines to be aware of. Visit the Safe Kids Lincoln-Lancaster website for more information about how to keep your family safe and happy this summer.
Power lines & equipment
Downed lines
  • If overhead power lines are downed for any reason, stay clear until you are sure the power is shut off.
  • Call 911 or 1.888.365.2412 for assistance.
  • Do not touch the wires.
  • If the downed power lines have fallen on a motor vehicle, avoid contact with the vehicle — it has probably been electrified, and deadly shock could result if you touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.

 

Overhead lines
  • Avoid contacting power lines, whether directly or with another object.
  • Don’t let children play or climb on wooden utility poles, metal transmission towers or any trees that may bring them into contact with power lines.
  • Kites, drones, model airplanes, fishing line and other objects can get hung up in power lines or in a tree near an overhead line. Don’t try to pull an item down or climb on anything to get it. Call LES PowerLine at 1.888.365.2412, and we’ll get it down for you.
  • Look up and around you. Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long metal tools, like ladders, pool skimmers and pruning poles. Lower your long equipment when moving it. Carry ladders and other long items horizontally.
  • Never trim trees near power lines — leave that to the professionals. Never use water or blower extensions to clean gutters near electric lines. Contact a professional maintenance contractor.
  • Never climb trees near power lines. Even if the power lines aren’t touching the tree, they could touch when more weight is added to the branch.
Underground utility lines
  • Call Nebraska811 at 811 or 1.800.331.5666 before you dig to learn the location of underground utilities near your home. You also can request locates online.
  • Submit your request two business days before you dig.
Substations

A substation’s primary function is to transform voltage from high to low for distribution to homes and offices or from low to high for transmission across great distances.

  • Steer clear of this high-voltage equipment.
Transformers

Many neighborhoods have padmounted transformers and/or switchgears on the ground in front or backyards. This equipment generally resembles a green metal box. These transformers perform the same high-voltage energy transformation on the ground as similar equipment does on a pole.

  • If you have one in your yard, you can help yourself, your neighbors and our workers by making sure there is 10 feet of clearance from the front door opening of the transformer or switchgear, and 3 feet or more from the equipment on the other three sides.
  • Keeping plants and structures away from this equipment will help our crews restore power to you and your neighbors more quickly during an outage.
  • Respect these transformers and switchgear like you would any other high-voltage electrical equipment.

 

Transmission line corridors

Transmission lines carry electricity at voltages much higher than other lines. These lines are necessary to transport large amounts of power between generation facilities and different areas within our community. 

To ensure safety, maintain reliability and provide ready access by LES crews and our contractors, LES restricts items and activities near these lines in the area known as the transmission line corridor. This corridor is made up of LES right-of-way easements and, in some locations, public right of way.

Click the links below to see the corridor restrictions on property and to learn more about the corridors:

Tree trimming & landscaping
Right tree, right place

LES supports planting “The Right Tree in the Right Place” in our community and maintaining the existing plantings. This brochure includes guidance for planting trees properly, so you’ll realize the benefits they provide when planted, while reducing conflicts with overhead power lines that provide you with power.

Planting the right tree in the right place.

Right tree, right place visual diagram
  • You must obtain LES approval before planting in a transmission corridor.
  • Transmission corridors are highly restricted. Please call LES Land Management at 402.473.3252.
  • Small trees (15 feet max height) can be planted adjacent to or beneath power lines.
  • Medium trees (15-40 feet tall) should be planted no closer than 20 feet horizontally to power lines.
  • Large trees (40+ feet tall) should be planted no closer than 50 feet horizontally to power lines.
  • Shrubs and landscaping placed near padmounted equipment (big green, metal boxes on ground) should allow adequate access to LES employees for maintenance. It may be necessary to remove vegetation if it interferes with emergency or maintenance work.
Pruning trees for safety and reliability

When it comes to providing reliable electricity, LES’ track record is one of the best in the country. One of the ways we keep your power on is by decreasing the risk of a major contributor to outages — tree branches. With your help, LES’ Vegetation Management Program eliminates any branches that are potentially dangerous or may cause an outage. And, we do it in a way that keeps our community looking great. Before pruning begins, our crew members make an attempt to contact property owners and tenants to explain the pruning work that needs to be done on the property. In the case of some emergencies, advance explanation may not be practical.

Working around LES equipment in your yard

Please maintain a safe distance from LES equipment. If you have questions, one of our crew members will be happy to answer them.

Storm safety
Before the storm
  • If you have a special medical need, be sure to make arrangements ahead of time for a battery backup or generator for your medical equipment.
  • Make an emergency plan.
  • Get others in your household involved in planning/preparing for severe weather.
  • Get an EAS or NOAA weather radio and be sure it stays in working condition.
  • Identify safe rooms/structures before a storm strikes.
During the storm
  • Tune in to local authorities to stay updated on your community’s weather situation.
  • If you are under a tornado warning…
    • Go to a safe room in your home (i.e. basement, storm cellar, etc.). If there is no basement, get to a small, interior room on the lowest level.
    • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.
    • If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, get to a low, flat location and cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible.
    • Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.
  • Protect your property. During severe thunderstorms, remember to unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture, if doing so does not put you in harm’s way.
After the storm
  • Stay out of floodwater. Do not attempt to drive through flooded areas and sanitize thoroughly if you have been in contact with floodwater. It can contain many things that may harm health, including germs, dangerous chemicals, human and livestock waste, and other contaminants that could make you sick.
  • Never use a wet electrical device.
  • Stay away from downed power lines. Report any damaged equipment or downed lines to LES right away.
  • Drink safe water and eat safe food. Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or stormwaters or that has not been refrigerated properly due to outages. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or TV for emergency information.

If you are experiencing an outage, find more tips and information about the current outage in our Outage Center. Also, don’t forget to report your outage!

Rural safety
Agricultural equipment and crop dusters
  • Make sure you are aware of overhead power lines. Equipment should never come in contact with overhead power lines.
  • Use a spotter to help you make sure you will clear power lines.
  • Relocate equipment that conducts electricity (irrigation pipe, augers and other tools).
  • Make sure all equipment is completely lowered before going near power lines.
  • Equipment (e.g., harvesters, crop dusters, etc.) should maintain a minimum 10-foot clearance from lines, both above and below, because electricity can arc through the air between the line and the grounded equipment.
  • Outlets that have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter should always be used during rainy and wet weather. Electric panel boxes in the equipment should be sealed, watertight and locked. 
     
Prescribed burn
  • Only individuals experienced with fire and burn paths should conduct a prescribed burn. Depending on your area, a burn permit may also be needed.
  • Avoid burning near public roads or airports.
  • Alert anyone in the area who may be affected by the burn. 
  • Be aware of power lines and poles so they are not damaged. Dampen the area near the poles and trim any vegetation around them. 
  • In the event of a fire, please call the fire department and LES. 
Diggers Hotline

If you plan to dig in an area that may have underground power lines, call Nebraska811 at 811 or 1.800.331.5666 so the location of the buried power lines can be marked for you.

You also can request locates online.

shovel digging