Fallen Power Lines

Be aware of hazards presented by downed power lines. Consider all wires energized and dangerous. Power lines that are de-energized may become energized at any time. Follow these principles if you see a downed power line:

  1. Stay at least 30 feet from the wire. Electricity can travel through the ground. Therefore, a live wire touching the ground can harm you even if you don't touch the wire.
  2. Electricity can also travel through tree limbs. Never remove tree limbs or other items that are touching or near a downed wire.
  3. Never use any object to move a downed wire.
  4. If a broken power line should fall on your vehicle:
  5. Call 911.  Stay inside the vehicle util help arrives, as your car may be energized.
  6. Warn others not to touch the vehicle and have them call for help.
  7. You should only leave the vehicle if you are in imminent danger. If you are in such danger, jump as far away as possible with both feet landing on the ground at the same while keeping them close together.  Walk away in a small-step shuffle because a lot of power flowing into the ground can create differences in electrical potential around the problem — enough differences to actually shock anyone whose feet are too far apart.
  8. Once clear of the vehicle, do not return for any reason until the power line has been grounded or determined to be safe by your electric utility or the owner of the line. Keep anyone nearby from touching or approaching the equipment.
  9. If someone makes contact with a downed power line, don't try to rescue them because you risk becoming a victim yourself. Call 911.