By Dulce Ridder
Monroe County residents say they are increasingly more anxious about the county's neglect of complaints about fallen trees on electrical wires.
Albert Lanigan of Stroudsburg called Med Ed numerous times to file a report on a fallen tree on Woodale Rd. He did not get any response from them. Every day, he and his wife, Lissette Lanigan, drove under the threat of a vast tree possibly falling on their car.
Lanigan said, "My wife is scared that this tree will fall and kill someone by crushing their vehicle. She recently had a colleague die from devastating injuries when a tree fell on her while driving. Her daughter was with her in the car, and she survived."
The Stroudsburg Herald contacted Mario Scavellos's office. Scavellos's office said, "we will look into it right away" shortly after that call, the tree on Woodale Rd was removed.
In February, the Stroudsburg Herald reported a fallen tree on Rt 611 between Stroudsburg and the Delaware Water Gap. The tree is still there. Photos were recently simultaneously sent to Scavellos's office. We will follow up with a response.
So who is in charge of clearing these trees? We have received a few answers.
1. PennDot/ PUC Power_Line_Safety-FS.pdf (pa.gov) You can call 1800-692-7380. On their website, Power_Line_Safety-FS.pdf (pa.gov), they state:
"To stay safe in the event of a downed power line:
• Do not try to move a downed line because it may still be energized and could be potentially dangerous and even fatal.
• In the instance of a vehicle accident, those involved should drive away from the power lines, if they can do so, without running over any lines.
• The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) recommends that if car accident victims are in imminent danger from a fire or other hazards, they should stay away from the downed lines and jump clear without touching the vehicle and the ground simultaneously.
Try to land with your feet together and shuffle away in small steps.
• Once safely away from the downed line, maintain a distance of at least 30 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with, such as puddles of water and fences.
• Electricity can travel through the ground, so do not approach downed lines. Stay at least 30 feet away from any downed line.
• Contact 911 and your local electric utility.
Local emergency crews can block off the area until utility crews can de-energize or fix the line.
• Even if a downed line appears to be a phone or cable line, it may be an electric line, or it may be touching at some point, so treat all downed lines as if they are energized.
• Be aware that downed lines that are de-energized can become re-energized."
2. Med Ed, You can report a tree problem to Med Ed on their site, Report Tree Problem (firstenergycorp.com)
The site has questions that help them evaluate the situation and decide if the tree needs attention before the subsequent scheduled trimming. But, a source who wants to remain anonymous said Med Ed would ask two questions:
"Do you currently have power?"
"Are you experiencing flickering lights, voltage problems, smoking, or sparking wires?" if your answer is NO, they will not send anyone out.
3. PPL For emergencies, downed wires, you can call
24/7 at 1-800-342-5775 and say "downed power line." PPL Electric Utilities
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