Downed Power Lines
Bad weather and car accidents are two of the main causes of downed power lines. Safety experts remind everyone to use extreme caution when encountering a downed line.
Downed power lines can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or death. If you see one, you should report it immediately to the police and your local electric utility.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe around downed lines:
- If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and anything touching the line. The human body is a ready conductor of electricity.
- The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage zone – and it could do that through your body.
- If you see someone in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch that person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
- Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and electrocute you.
- Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
- If you are in your vehicle and it is in contact with the downed line, stay in your vehicle. Signal for help and warn others to stay away from your vehicle.
- If you must leave your vehicle because of a fire, jump from the vehicle keeping both feet together. Avoid contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away from the vehicle.
- Do not drive over downed lines.