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A little PSA about a deadly danger

A few weeks ago, I read this horrible, painful story about a woman who had watched her dog being electrocuted from stray voltage that leaked from a nearby power pole as they were walking. As upset as this story has made me, I feel compelled to pass it along to everyone I know -- I had never heard of this problem, and it horrifies me to find out that it has happened in many cities, and killed pets, kids, and adults alike. And that our utility companies have in many cases let this happen by hiring crappy subcontractors or not properly inspecting work.

If you walk anywhere, any time (even though some of these have happened in wet climates and after snow, when salt de-icing makes the current conduct more intensely), you should know about this. I can tell you that when I get a dog, I will be absolutely certain never to get near a metal plate. I don't know if there are any in my immediate area that could endanger Olive the wandering kitty, but I'm certainly going to find out.

Seattle City Light held a meeting last night about this, especially after one woman in my area told them about a light where her dog was acting weird, and it turned out to have exposed wiring. They are promising to inspect all 20,000 lights before May 1 -- but this is small comfort to someone who had to watch her beloved pet being killed. I have no idea what it will mean for places outside the city, and whether other cities will be dealing with this problem. It's more common in the east, unsurprisingly, with their worse weather and less car-reliant populations.

I think this is worth passing along, especially if you know of anyone with pets or little kids.

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Dec. 11th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC)
I feel really fortunate that most of my nabe is wooden poles, but there's a part of my walk on the main drag where it's all metal poles. Now I"m suspicious of everything.
Dec. 9th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
That's simply awful. I feel ridiculously lucky that I live in an areas that doesn't have those plates.
Dec. 11th, 2010 06:45 am (UTC)
I know, right? I was horrified and I can't stop thinking of what that poor dog went through (and many more, judging by the posts on her blog). I'm lucky that most of my nabe is wooden poles, but up on the main drag, when I walk to the store, it's metal poles, and I'm going to have pay a lot more attention.
Dec. 11th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
I have a mix of metal and wooden (the wood dries out an rots, or gets termites, so the wood gets replaced with metal), but they're all set in dirt or concrete. With all the caliche in the ground here, no one digs any more than they absolutely have to!
Dec. 9th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
Yike! That's useful to know!

I am very leery of metal plates in snowy weather anyhow, because I noticed in NYC that manhole covers were always more slippery than anything around them. So I pretty much walk around -- but I'll keep away in rain and clear weather too.
Dec. 11th, 2010 06:48 am (UTC)
Isn't it horrible? I just had no idea. NOw everytime it snows here I'm going to have to try to remember where there are any potential problems. I've always hated walking over any kind of metal plate or cover, and I'm going to be even more fearful now. Especially if I get a puppersons!
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Dec. 11th, 2010 06:50 am (UTC)
Yay because I think the more people who know about this, the better. It's just horrible and I hope that if even one pet or kid is safer because of it, we've done our job.
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