Should my sister have cut tree limbs above a phone line?

So my sister just cut tree branches right above the phone lines with a pole lopper. I kept screaming that it was a terrible idea. She insisted it was fine because "they aren’t power lines. " Was this as dangerous as I kept yelling that it was? Advice please!

The branches coming down have a small chance of damaging the phone or cable line, but it’s not all that great, as those things can hold up cars.

If there are any drops (a line going from pole to house) that would be impacted, those are not nearly as durable.

Electrical lines are usually (always?) the top row of wires. You don’t really want to hit them (with the branches coming down off the tree), but really probably NBD if you do.

Just make sure you do not contact them with the actual pole, that could get someone killed quite quickly.

While probably not a lot more dangerous (threat of physical harm) than any other tree trimming activity, it could potentially bring down the telephones lines. I could see a branch falling into, snagging and breaking the line, then swinging in an unpredicatable path. It’s a longshot but that unlikely sequence could put people at risk.

Those things are strong.

You were correct to be cautious with other people’s property and services. Especially services that can be life saving like phone and power.

Here are some examples of bad thinking(some are mine:smack:)

They aren’t power lines/I turned off the power
The gun wasn’t loaded
I’m fine it was just a few beers
I thought I tightened those bolts
The train never comes through here.

I don’t know you and yours, but most people never figured out how to program the clock on their VCR’s.
Not to be rude but does your sister have any background to claim knowledge of power lines/phone lines?

Is she sure phone lines are safe? They do have voltage in them.
Would she let her kids play with downed phone lines?
All this to say, you were VERY correct to be worried.

Ringing current is 90 Volts AC (give or take). This current is sent down the phone line in order to make the phone ring. This is the source of the urban legends about the dogs tied up outside who can predict when the phone is about to ring.

When the phone is off-hook (people are talking on it), the line carries a -48 Volt DC current.

Well the current is typical low, you’re talking voltage. Current is typical only 20 milliamps DC. If the wires are truly old fashion phone lines, then the chance of a dangerous shock is vanishingly small. If Fiberoptic or Coax it is even less dangerous.

My question is: is she really sure they’re phone lines. If they’re not phone lines, but electrical lines, what she’s doing is very dangerous.

As to trimming above phone lines - we have a tree with phone lines running through it. Some of the branches had grown such that they were lifting the wires. We called the phone company to have them come trim the branches away from the wires. They said it wasn’t worth their time. And that if we wanted to trim it, we could. If the falling branches or the rubbing branches broke the line, let them know and they’d come fix it.

We haven’t done any trimming.

As said above:

[ul][]Risk of damaging the lines: not zero, but close to zero.[]Risk of tree trimmer getting hit with a falling or swinging branch: worse than just trimming a free standing tree, but not much worse.Risk of electrocution of tree trimmer: Zero. Unless they somehow get into an electrical line they thought was a phone/cable line. In which case death is quite likely.[/ul]

I think this is my favorite answer. :rolleyes:
Anyway, we were lucky nobody called the police with all the screaming we were doing.

screaming at her?

like screaming at her while she was doing this?

if so, that likely created the most dangerous situation she faced while she was doing this.

The screaming was contained to before and after. It was closer to yelling actually.

I was intrigued by the sequence of events here. I couldn’t find a definitive source matching to that exact picture, but from stories that seem to match up it seems the car (out of control, obviously) was launched when it ran into one of the diagonal cables that anchor the pole to the ground.

[quote=“LSLGuy, post:9, topic:803834”]

[ul][li]Risk of electrocution of tree trimmer: Zero. Unless they somehow get into an electrical line they thought was a phone/cable line. In which case death is quite likely.[/ul][/li][/QUOTE]

Not arguing that it’s a good thing to do, but wrt electrocution, the extendable pole cutting tools I’ve used (in a safe manner) were expensive because they were nonconducting.

I think.

Just want to make sure you understand that if the lines were actually telephone, they were not dangerous. But, the danger comes in from not be sure she properly identified the wire type.

You didn’t mention, was this along the road, on the poles or going from the pole to the house?