FPL crews demonstrate how dangerous power lines can be

Florida Power & Light holds safety expo in Deerfield Beach


DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – Some crews with Florida Power & Light demonstrated on Wednesday just how dangerous power lines can be.

"Vegetation is the leading cause of power interruptions," said FPL spokesperson Carissa Metzger.

Vegetation can also be extremely dangerous and that is why FPL held a safety expo for more than 30 municipalities from Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Inside a specially built trailer, electricity experts use tested tools to show tree trimmers, firefighters and waste management workers the dangers of a live power line.

"A live demonstration of 7,200 volts of electricity," said Metzger. "That is about 600 times the typical power in a car battery."

"More than enough to kill you," said David Hawley, of Asplundh tree service. "It only takes one-tenth of one amp to kill a person and there are quite a few amps going through this line."

FPL is urging its customers not to plant trees next to power lines as they said this has become a problem for them. During the past eight years in 35 counties in Florida they have cleared more than 100,000 miles of power lines of any vegetation.

The most impressive demonstration was putting a fully insulated glove with a hot dog inside against the wire, then poking a tiny hole in the glove and doing it again. The arcing power and high voltage immediately burned the rubber and its contents.

"The body is 75 percent water and that hot dog is about 75 percent water, so when you see the damage to the hot dog, you can clearly see what could happen to a human being if they made contact with a power line," said Hawley.

FPL hopes being able to see it in a safe environment will be impactful enough to save lives.