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Boreal Emergency Preparedness Portal

What to do if you see a downed power line.

Jan 27, 2018 11:55AM ● By Editor

Know what to do if you see a downed power line.  Avoid touching or approaching a fallen power line

Downed power lines are dangerous. Never touch them. For safety’s sake, always assume that a fallen power line is live, and follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid touching the downed line with your hand or an object, such as a stick, broom or pole.
  • Avoid touching anything, such as a car, object or equipment, or anyone who is in contact with a fallen power line.
  • Keep children and pets away from fallen electric lines.
  • Avoid driving over a fallen power line.
  • Call 911 immediately to report a fallen power line.

Stay safe if a fallen power line touches your car

If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line, follow these safety rules:

  • Stay inside your car. The ground around your car may be energized.
  • Sound the horn, roll down your window and call for help.
  • Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around your car can be injured.
  • Use your mobile phone to call 911.
  • Wait until the fire department, police or utility workers tell you it’s safe to get out of your car before exiting the vehicle.

If your car is in contact with a fallen power line and a fire starts, follow these guidelines when exiting your vehicle:

  • Remove loose items of clothing.
  • Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground.
  • Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.

Look up and live

Remember these important safety tips for overhead power lines:

  • Look up before lifting ladders and other long-handled tools to avoid accidental contact with electric lines.
  • Stay away from fallen or dangling power lines. Don’t touch the lines. Call 911 immediately.
  • Contact us at 1-800-743-5000 to report tree branches or limbs near power lines. Our tree-trimming crews are qualified to work around high-voltage lines, and can cut the limbs for you. Never attempt to do the trimming, yourself.
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