The Unexpected Danger of Picking Fruit: ELECTROCUTION!
Law Firm of Burman, Critton, Luttier & Coleman
Many Florida residents have an orange tree, grapefruit tree, avocado tree or mango tree in their yard, but fail to consider the potential danger associated with picking fruit from those trees: POWER LINES!! Many fruit trees can grow into and around overhead power lines, causing a danger to you and your family. Not only is there a risk of electrocution by coming in contact with a power line, but a power line that is touching a tree limb can also cause the tree to become energized. As a result, just touching a branch can result in serious injury or death.
In the last year alone, there have been at approximately 7 incidents in Florida in which a person was injured or killed while picking fruit. In the past, if you noticed a tree in contact with power lines, you could call the power company and they would send out someone to trim the trees. However, in an effort to cut down on costs, many power companies have changed their policies and only trim trees that present a danger of causing the power lines to snap. Otherwise, the trees will only be trimmed according to the planned cycle – typically once every 6 years. So what can you, as a concerned citizen or parent, do to protect against the potential dangers:
- Be aware of power lines: prior to picking fruit, be sure to look up and see if there are any power lines in the area.
- If there are power lines in contact with or even close to the tree, STAY AWAY from the tree and call your local power company, let them know of the problem and ask that they send someone to trim the tree.
- Do not use any sort of metal object as it can act as a conductor of electricity, creating a path for the electricity to flow from its source to you. This can result in serious injury or death. However, if there are power lines near the trees, remember to STAY AWAY from the tree and call your local power company.
- Ladders, even non-metallic ladders, can act as a conductor of electricity, so avoid using ladders near trees if power lines are close to the tree.
- In addition to picking fruit, activities such as tree trimming, climbing trees, building a tree house, working on roofs, removing/installing antennas or satellite dishes or any other activities that can put you closer to a power line can pose a danger of electrocution. Again, be aware of all power lines in the area; they can be deadly!
At Burman, Critton, Luttier & Coleman, LLP, we are experienced in handling cases involving injury or death resulting from contact with power lines. If you or someone you know has been injured or died as a result of contact with a power line, please call us at 561-842-2820 to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.