Safety Guide: What to Do If You See a Downed Power Line

Safety Guide in Event of Downed Power Line

A downed power line is an immediate danger to avoid at all costs. It can be loaded with over 500,000 volts of electricity! That’s more than the most dangerous home electrical hazards that you ordinarily would face (then again, all electrical hazards are bad). The danger from a downed power line remains long after a tornado, hurricane, or other storm has passed, unless the power is cut and the line repaired.

Steps to Take in the Event of a Downed Power Line

What to Do If You See A Downed Power Line

Stay Away from It

Never touch a downed power line; always assume it is live.

Don’t touch anything that’s in contact with a downed line, including:

  • A pole, stick, or branch (touching it with one can result in electrocution)
  • Objects, equipment, or another person
  • Your car
  • Chain link fences
  • Metal culverts

Call 911

A downed power line is a serious emergency. Call 911 to report it to the authorities and keep children and pets away. Remember, a downed line may not look “live”. There may not be a classic hum, spark, or wiggling movement that you might see in the movies.

Shuffle Away

If you find yourself near a downed power line, move away slowly, shuffling with your feet close together. Taking large steps could result in conducting electricity from one leg to another. Voltage decreases with distance from the wire on the ground, and differences between voltages at each leg touching the ground can increase the risk of injury or death.

What to Do If a Power Line Has Fallen on Your Car

Never drive over a fallen power line. If a power line has come in contact with your vehicle, stay inside. Wait for rescue workers to arrive. The ground around you could be electrified.

  • Signal that you need help by honking the horn, yelling out the window, etc.
  • Warn anyone in the vicinity to stay away
  • Call 911 on your mobile phone

Don’t exit the vehicle unless authorities tell you it’s safe to do so. However, if a fire starts:

  • Remove any loose clothing
  • Keep your hands at your sides
  • Jump from the vehicle, so not to touch it and the ground at the same time
  • With both feet close together (and not picking them up), shuffle way from the vehicle

If Someone Touches a Live Electrical Wire

  • Never touch them directly; you could be shocked
  • If you can, shut off the power (for hazards in your home)
  • Use a non-conducting object, such as a wooden pole/handle or rope, to move the person away
  • Call 911 for immediate help

Exercise Care Even Around Intact Power Lines

Don’t ever climb a power pole and/or tamper with utility electrical equipment. Helium-filled metallic balloons should be tied or weighed down, preventing them from floating into energized power lines. Kites and remote-control toys must be kept away as well. They can cause outages, fires, and injuries.

Contact Express Electrical Services

Our customers in Southern California trust us for all electrical solutions in their homes. Whether you need electrical renovation help or lighting installation in Los Angeles, or are experiencing power surges or another electrical emergency, our live operators are available 24/7. If you need assistance, call us immediately at 323-727-7799.