Downed power lines are very rare, but they can cause serious injury or death. They usually occur during extreme weather or when a vehicle strikes a power pole. If you see a power line down, call 911 or 408.615.5640 immediately to report the problem.
Our friends at Puget Sound Energy in Washington put together a great video about what to do in the event you are in a car and come across downed power lines. Helpful general safety guidelines about downed lines are provided by the Electrical Safety Foundation Institute:
- You cannot tell whether or not a power line is energized just by looking at it. You should assume that all downed power lines are live.
- If you see a downed power line, move away from it and anything touching it. The ground around power lines – up to 35 feet away – may be energized.
- The proper way to move away from the power line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 for help.
- Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything else in contact with it by using an object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth can conduct electricity if even slightly wet.
- Be careful not to touch or step in water near where a downed power line is located.
- Do not drive over downed power lines.
- If your car comes in contact with a downed power line while you are inside, stay in the car. Honk your horn to summon help, but direct others to stay away from your car.
- If you must leave your car because it is on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with both the car and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away from the car.
Again, check out the video from Puget Sound Energy and please share this information with others. It can keep them safe!