Distribution lines carry electricity from substations to customers. Some distribution lines are located underground, but the majority are found on overhead poles. The poles are made of metal, fiberglass or a special wood that is chemically treated to prevent rotting. The chemicals in this wood can pose a toxic smoke hazard in the event of a fire.
Distribution lines may appear insulated, but their coating is designed for protection from the weather and will not prevent electric shock. Always assume these lines are energized and dangerous, and keep yourself and your equipment at least 20 feet away—and much farther away whenever possible. Always use the maximum possible distance.