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#213812 - 12/29/10 07:09 AM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: JohnN]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Is there a way to give the electricity another path to ground that could create some kind of safe zone? [And, yes, I have no real idea what I am talking about.]

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#213818 - 12/29/10 12:32 PM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: JohnN]
Byrd_Huntr Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 1160
Loc: MN, Land O' Lakes & Rivers ...
Guns are always loaded, downed lines are always live.

This isn't knife-in-a-toaster voltage that you have to touch to get shocked. High voltage is 'controlled lightning' that will jump a surprising distance to get to you.

Stay away!
_________________________
The man got the powr but the byrd got the wyng

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#213836 - 12/29/10 03:46 PM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: Byrd_Huntr]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Originally Posted By: Byrd_Huntr
Stay away!


No one wants to encounter a downed power line. Because it is a real world possibility, exploring options for dealing with the situation fits with a survival forum. Creativity in questioning currently accepted wisdom is one possible path to a better understanding of the world and better surviving in it.

Maybe there will never, in the history of the world, a better strategy for civilians dealing with downed power lines than "stay away." But, one, you never know until you ask, and two, given the history of scientific progress, I doubt it.

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#213849 - 12/29/10 05:51 PM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: Richlacal]
Eric Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 323
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: Richlacal
!Of Course I Know What Voltage is in the Line,Don't You?


Actually other than the line to my house from the pole the answer is no I don't know and unless you work for the local power company (or maybe EMS) you probably won't know either.

From the pole to my old house (most houses in the US actually) was 220VAC with some really high current limit (like way way north of 200 Amps). If that one comes down (or if several in your neighborhood come down) tension tends to pull it back to the pole and getting boxed/trapped is unlikely (and yes sometimes luck just plain runs out).

I am pretty sure my old neighborhood had 440ish VAC lines feeding the on the pole transformers (old neighborhood) but I think the underground line feeding my current neighborhood is around 600V but I don't know for certain in either case.

Most of the above ground lines around here are either local distribution (something around 600VAC) or transmission lines (more than 1 KVAC, usually over 100KVA). Getting these two lines mixed up is a sure way to cook yourself even if you equipped and prepared to deal with the lower voltage.

-Eric
_________________________
You are never beaten until you admit it. - - General George S. Patton


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#213861 - 12/29/10 07:52 PM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: JohnN]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
Here's the only strategy that I know of.

1. Get trained as a linesman for a power utility.
2. Obtain, and maintain, the needed equipment at all times. This includes things like a 30' "hot stick" a bucket truck with an insulated boom, rubber gloves and bibs, remote voltage sensors and breaker manipulating tools.
3. Be ready and able to use these tools at any time.

Look, I know there's all sorts of Walter Mitty adventures we go through in our heads, and I know "run away" isn't always a strategy anyone wants to hear, but in real life that's often the best thing to do.

Let me put this to you another way.

Look at this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAHRWeQhz3c

The line is likely STILL LIVE after the boom! You saw what it can do...those folks were a little too close, but at least they stay back.

Graphic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26Y-axZqMAI

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#213887 - 12/30/10 02:28 AM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: JohnN]
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
This thread makes me grumpy. As before, I get the whole "stay away" and the high risk aspect.

And I never said anything about manipulating or touching the lines.

So far, about the only useful thing I've seen in this thread is Eric's comments about voltage differential, and "the shuffle" (although it would be interesting if someone could post some insight into at what point the path between leg#1 and leg#2 becomes a more desirable path than the ground, etc.)

My original inquiry was about detecting if lines were live or not, not because I was going to run out and attempt to stick my tongue on them to show how wily I am, but rather because I've seen first hand when you mix trees and wind and urban areas, that you can find yourself in a maze of downed lines and you never know what is going to happen that might cause you to need to leave the area.

Clearly the best option is to avoid or wait. But, as Dweste points out a couple of posts above, it seems like a reasonable topic of discussion.

I cannot believe it is not possible to detect the voltages remotely or semi-remotely. I'm sure linesmen must do this, I can't imagine they don't double check before they approach a line. So what and how do they use? [Yes, I get that they could be re-energized w/o warning.]

Information about the types and methods of lines and how to identify them would be useful. I really doubt the lines on a residential street are 115KV for example.

Basically, can we stow the condescending attitude and share some information and logical discussion?

If I ever turn up dead, killed by a power line, I promise I won't hold you accountable. At least for any information you *did* provide. :-)

-john

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#213889 - 12/30/10 02:42 AM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: Eric]
EMPnotImplyNuclear Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 319
Originally Posted By: Eric
...Getting these two lines mixed up is a sure way to cook yourself even if you equipped and prepared to deal with the lower voltage.

and you don't even have to mix them up. Just because its supposed to be lower voltage, doesn't mean it will remain lower voltage when its broken; resistors fail, lines get crossed, sewer pipes get electrified ...

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#213895 - 12/30/10 03:10 AM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: MartinFocazio]
EMPnotImplyNuclear Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 319
Lets see, on the one hand, becoming a lineman
http://www.lineman.edu/assets/content/docs/enrollment-CA-2010.pdf
* four concurrent months (15 weeks) of full-time enrollment
* TOTAL FEES & TuiTiON .... $10,100.00
* CLImBING & HANd TOOLS .... $2,218.00
* TOTAL COSTS .............. $12,382.00
* state certification exam...
* four year apprenticeship before you're qualified to be in charge (always work in teams)


on the other hand, running away is free , and you're instantly qualified smile

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#213896 - 12/30/10 03:12 AM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: JohnN]
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
Thanks. Avoiding them didn't occur to me.

-john


Edited by JohnN (12/30/10 03:51 AM)

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#213897 - 12/30/10 03:13 AM Re: Determining if downed power lines are live? [Re: JohnN]
Richlacal Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 778
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I Believe I, Owe You an Apology! It was on Your Thread,That I started the hyperbole,By Answering a Question from Someone other, than Yourself! Kinda' funny though,It sure did stir up a Big pot of Emotional Paranoia,with a few slices of Uboob,thrown in the pot!One thing for Certain,We Now Know who would have NOT, Have Been good Friends of Benjamin Franklins,LOL!

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