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Farmers warned about overhead power lines

Fergus Falls, MN - Otter Tail Power Company reminds farm workers to keep machinery away from utility poles, overhead lines, and other electrical equipment. Even when no injuries occur, contact with power lines can damage farm equipment and interrupt electrical service, which poses a threat to medically fragile people who rely on electricity to operate life-support systems.

"We are especially concerned at this time of year when planting gets into full swing. A little planning can help keep everyone safe and productive," says Ryan Smith, Otter Tail Power Company safety services manager. "Think about the routes you take in and out of fields. Will tillage and planting equipment folded for road travel clear the overhead electrical lines that cross that field approach? When tillage equipment is extended, will it snag that nearby pole? And look up before you raise the truck box or your seed or fertilizer auger because contact with energized lines can result in personal injury or death."

If farm equipment accidentally contacts any of Otter Tail Power Company's lines or equipment, call 800-257-4044 to report it as soon as possible.

And a special precaution this spring, with excess water in many areas, don't even consider going near a downed electrical line or near water that's in contact with any electrical component such as a pad-mount transformer or a downed line.

If an electrical accident should occur, be certain that the electrical source no longer poses a threat before assisting the victim. If in doubt, call 911 and wait until help arrives. Smith says that persons who have been involved in such accidents should seek medical advice even if they don't appear to be injured because injury from a serious electrical shock may not become apparent for several hours.

Otter Tail Power Company, a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation, is headquartered in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It provides electricity and energy services to nearly a quarter million people in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. To learn more visit Otter Tail Power Company's web site at