RANDOLPH COUNTY, NC -- Linemen with Randolph Electric Membership Corporation did a live demonstration Thursday, showing how outages occur and what happens if you come in contact with a live wire.
Sparks flew high as crews used hot dogs, gloves, shovels, and stuffed animals to simulate the dangers involved in their daily jobs.
A crowd of local leaders with the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class had to plug their ears, as they witnessed the power of more than 7,000 volts of electricity.
“I have never seen anything like that before,” said Doug Hefner, who watched the demonstration. “I just makes you think about what you have to do if there is a downed power line. You need to be really careful about the steps you make.”
Daniel Maness with Randolph Electric says one wrong step could be deadly.
“A lot of people don't see the danger in the lines,” said Maness. “They just think it's a power line it doesn't make any noise, that it doesn't do anything, it's silent. But there is actually a voltage running through those lines that can hurt you.”
The dangers of the job have already hit home.
Two Triad utility workers have been electrocuted this summer.
One of them died, a 63-year-old man from Danville who had worked as a lineman for more than 20 years.
“You want to go home,” said Maness. “You want to go home and see your kids. You always have that in the back of your mind.”
Last week, all tourists were ordered off parts of the Outer Banks after a construction company accidentally cut a transmission line under the Bonner Bridge, knocking out power to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.
Maness says it’s a visual reminder of the importance of proper training.
“It takes a lot of training to be confident,” said Maness. “You have to be confident in what you do. If you are not trained properly, if you are unsure of what you're doing that can create accidents.”
Crews also demonstrated safety tips and the dangers involved with drivers on the road in harm’s way of fallen lines.
Maness says if a power line falls on your car after an accident, you should hop far out of the vehicle, landing with both feet together.
Then 'shuffle' with your feet as close together as possible until you're about 35 feet away -- where the voltage can't shock you.
Always assume a wire is live.
If a power line falls near your home, stay away and call your power company.