A downed power line can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or even death. In many cases, you won’t be able to tell whether the line is energized or not – especially if it’s covered by snow or under water during a thaw. Keep these things in mind when using a portable generator.
- If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and anything touching it. Immediately call 911 or your electric cooperative for help.
- The proper way to move away from the 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. 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 who’s in directcontact with – or even close to – a downed line, don’t touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
- Don’t attempt to move a downed power line or anything (or anyone) in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even slightly wet nonconductive materials such as wood, cloth or rope can conduct enough electricity to electrocute you.
- Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
- Don’t drive over a downed power line. If you’re in your car and it’s in contact with a downed power line, stay in your car. Honk your horn for help, and tell others to stay away from your vehicle.
- If you must leave your car because it’s on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with the car and the ground at the same time to avoid being the path of electricity from the car to the earth. Then shuffle away from the car.