Dangerous toys: Guelph Hydro issues drone warning

Guelph Hydro is warning recreational drone operators to be aware of their surroundings when flying drones outdoors, as a lot of inexperienced flyers test out the toy they received for Christmas.

Aerial toy could represent shock hazard

Guelph Hydro warns residents that touching a drone that gets caught in a power line could result in a fatal electric shock. (The Associated Press)

Guelph Hydro is warning people to be aware of their surroundings when flying recreational drones outdoors, as a lot of new flyers will be piloting that popular new unmanned aerial vehicle received this Christmas.

The utility sent out a list of safety tips for the holiday season, reminding residents to stay away from any drone caught in an overhead power line.

"What we're really concerned about is that children may not recognize the danger," says Sandy Manners, director of corporate communications for Guelph Hydro. 

"If they happen to get their drones stuck in a power line, they may think, 'Oh, well, I could climb this tree to get it down', but that would be extremely dangerous."

Manners says anyone attempting to dislodge a drone from a power line with a stick or ladder risks being fatally electrocuted.

Instead, she suggests residents call the utility, which will send out a crew to rescue the drone, much like they rescue cats from trees.
Aerial drones, said to be among the most popular Christmas gifts of 2015. (John Locher/Associated Press)

Also, the internal electronic components and radio control of a toy drone could be adversely affected by the electromagnetic fields close to power lines, and the device could behave erratically or fly out of control.

Gueph Hydro also recommends: 

  • only flying a drone during the day and in good weather.
  • never flying a drone near moving vehicles or near an airport.
  • never flying a drone higher than 90 metres above the ground.
  • always considering where a drone might crash, and taking necessary precautions.
  • keeping your drone in sight.

The utility also recommends visiting Transport Canada's website for a full list of where recreational drones are and are not allowed to fly.

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